Energy Technologies and Energy Systems
The energy system is a key area for industrial society. At the same time, the demand of industry and consumers for energy is responsible for essential global environmental problems, especially climate change. The transition of the (fossil) energy system to a renewable energy system thus poses a challenge to society. This challenge includes factors such as the development of more efficient renewable energy technologies and the optimized interaction between energy supply, energy demand, and conversion and storage technologies. Scenario and technology analysis as well as sector and regional studies are necessary to develop the concepts for future energy systems. The aim is to identify the potential for a holistic optimization after taking all the sustainability issues into consideration from different perspectives,. Energy research activities at the chair of Material Flow Management and Resource Economy are also integrated in the graduate school of Energy Science and Engineering at the TU Darmstadt.
Current research work:
- Energy and water
Energy and water represent issues linked in numerous ways. One topic is small scale hydroelectric power plants. We employ a life cycle assessment to conduct an extensive investigation of the sustainability of this kind of energy technology. In the process we evaluate generic technologies, as we will also conduct regional investigations. Economic considerations and findings from social sciences will also be taken into account. Finally, ecological, economical, and social factor will be combined within a life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA). As a second topic, the energetic optimization of wastewater treatment will be investigated. Using modular LCA, we will analyze different possibilities for energy production and the interdependence between external energy systems. This represents input for a research project conducted by the chair Wastewater Engineering and partners.
- Energy storage
As a result of the volatile nature of energy production from renewable energy technologies, further energy planning has to include the topic of energy storage technology. Currently, a vast number of different types of storage technology already exist and are being developed. But not one single type of technology alone will be enough to cope with future energy plans. The chair of Material Flow Management and Resource Economy analyzes the different forms of storage technology that now exist or are being developed. The focus of this work is on resources and energy consumption for production. Based on this, scenarios are being developed to analyze the different kinds of energy storage technology to be used in future energy systems. The chair of Material Flow Management and Resource Economy has a merit order model available to support a detailed investigation of substitution effects and of a reduction in greenhouse gases.