Press Releases 2020

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  • Press Release #30 / 2020

    Material Analysis for the Global Energy Transition

    November 12, 2020

     NAP-XPS  system
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Against the background of the global energy transition, the development of new technologies and characterization methods for thermochemical and electrochemical systems is becoming more significant. In context of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has expanded its R&D infrastructure and now operates one of the few facilities worldwide for High Temperature Near-Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HT-NAP-XPS). With this, the institute sets yet another milestone for the development of electrolysis and fuel cell systems as well as for hydrogen-based Power to X concepts.

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  • Efficient heat pump using the climate-friendly refrigerant propane
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Heat pumps will be the most important heating technology in the future. To accelerate market penetration, heat pump manufacturers are working on reducing the costs and finding sustainable refrigerants. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is developing a compact and cost-efficient refrigeration circuit for heat pumps which use propane as refrigerant in the research project "LC150 Development of a Refrigerant-reduced Heat Pump Module with Propane", funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi. A broad industrial consortium of European heat pump manufacturers is both financially supporting and technically accompanying the development in the project. The joint development platform is meant to open up considerable cost reduction potential to the participating companies and accelerate the industrial development of heat pumps for residential buildings.

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  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has developed an alternative process for producing solar cell contacts. The laser transfer and firing (LTF) technique offers several advantages compared to conventional processes, particularly for specific solar cell surfaces. Together with industry partners in the joint project “C³PO”, the Fraunhofer researchers in Freiburg have realized a fully automated LTF process for the first time on a system from Pulsar Photonics GmbH. Now the process can be systematically tested and optimized with the goal of industrial implementation. f-cell conference in Stuttgart on September 29.

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  • Press Release #27 / 2020

    Fraunhofer ISE Receives f-cell Award 2020

    September 30, 2020

    © f-cell Award/ Angelika Emmerling

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE received the f-cell Award this year in the category "Research & Development". The prize distinguished their work on the development of flatbed screen printing as an industrially scalable manufacturing process for fuel cell electrodes. Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector for Baden-Wuerttemberg Franz Untersteller presented the award personally during the f-cell conference in Stuttgart on September 29.

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  • Solar power is the most cost-effective form of energy worldwide, thanks to the many significant research contributions continuously made up to today. A decisive factor here is resource-saving production technology, which plays an important role along with increasing efficiency. HighLine Technology GmbH is the most recent Fraunhofer ISE spin-off company. The Freiburg-based start-up aims to commercialize a new process which was developed at the institute, whereby a contactless dispensing process is used to apply front metal contacts onto solar cells. This process not only saves resources but also increases the electricity yield and the potential for cost reductions. Applications also include production processes outside the field of photovoltaics.

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  • In the field of organic photovoltaics, researchers are working hard to further increase the solar cell efficiency. New materials obtained from synthetic organic chemistry have enabled significant efficiency increases in recent years. Maintaining the efficiencies achieved in the laboratory on tiny solar cells is often a challenge when the cell area becomes larger. Now Fraunhofer ISE together with the Freiburg Materials Research Center FMF of the University of Freiburg has achieved a record efficiency of 14.9% for organic solar cells with an area of at least 1 cm². This marks an important step for this cost-effective technology on its way to application maturity.

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  • Energy-Charts electricity production
    © Fraunhofer ISE; energy-charts.de

    The data platform energy-charts.de of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is the most comprehensive database for power generation in Germany. Since 2014, the site gathers data on power generation from various neutral sources and makes it accessible to the public. The site has been further developed in the InGraVi project which was funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and is now ready for relaunch. Changes were made so that the correlations between different data categories can be more quickly understood. DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde remarks, "The energy transition is a generational task which must be implemented quickly. Digital platforms such as the Energy Charts help to objectify the discussion. What effect does CO2 pricing have? This will become more transparent with the relaunch: The website now correlates new data, such as electricity exchange prices and CO₂ prices, so that it becomes clear at what cost level coal-based electricity generation is no longer profitable for power plant operators.

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  • Higher efficiencies for solar cells and thus a faster expansion of photovoltaics and an acceleration of the energy transition – This is the objective of the researchers at Fraunhofer ISE when working on tandem photovoltaics. They will present the latest results of their work on tandem solar cells of different material classes at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition EU PVSEC, which will be held online from September 7-11, 2020.

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  • Among solar thermal power plants, solar tower systems are considered to have the greatest potential in terms of efficiency and cost reduction. In particular, costs can be saved on mirrors (heliostats), which account for between 30 and 40 percent of the investment. Frequent calibration or control of the heliostat aim points is one approach. In the HelioControl project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE developed a calibration and control system based on digital image processing for heliostat fields. With this method, the aim points of many heliostats can be determined for the first time during operation in a timely and cost efficient manner.

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  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and Professor for Solar Energy Systems at the University of Freiburg, was appointed to the new Expert Council on Climate Issues by the German Cabinet. The independent panel of experts, consisting of five scientists, will advise the German government on the implementation of Germany’s Climate Action Law.

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