DLR presents technologies for decarbonisation in the energy, industrial and mobility sectors

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be presenting technologies, innovations and successful transfer and spin-off projects at Hannover Messe 2022. From 30 May to 2 June, at the 120-square-metre stand (Energy Solutions, Hall 13, D18), visitors will be able to gain an insight into DLR’s research for a future climate-friendly energy supply system and for the decarbonisation of industrial processes and mobility.

“Every day, new technologies emerge and valuable expertise is gained at DLR in the field of applied science. Together with partners from industry – from small and medium-sized companies to start-ups and global corporations – DLR brings these from the laboratory into practical use,” says Karsten Lemmer, the DLR Executive Board member responsible for ‘Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure’. He will present selected projects during the live event (31 May 2022, 12:00 CEST, livestream) and will be available to answer questions.

Solar thermal with salt – for low-cost and controllable electricity from renewable sources

With the Évora Molten Salt Platform (EMSP), DLR is operating a unique test facility together with the Portuguese University of Évora and European industrial partners. The goal is to further develop the technologies of solar thermal power plants and make them more competitive. To achieve this, the partners are using molten salt as a heat transfer medium instead of thermal oil. The advantage of molten salt is that it is more cost-effective and enables higher operating temperatures. This means that electricity can be provided up to 20 percent cheaper. Solar thermal power plants use concentrated sunlight to first generate heat and then electricity. They are one of the few options currently available for producing power using renewable resources in a continuous and controllable way. During a live event at the DLR stand (31 May 2022, 10:00 CEST, livestream), a direct link will be established to Portugal, which will broadcast an overview of the plant and short interviews with the researchers on site.

Technologies for low-carbon-dioxide industrial processes – process heat from renewable sources

Many industrial processes and plants require heat at high temperatures – which, at present, are often still generated using fossil fuels. Together with industry, DLR is working on solutions to use renewable sources in the future and thus substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions. These solutions include a prototype of a special high-temperature heat pump in Cottbus and a pilot plant that is being constructed in Italy. This will supply a factory operated by the Italian pasta manufacturer Barilla with process heat generated by renewable solar power around the clock. The centrepiece is a special radiation receiver in a solar tower power plant. This receiver works with ceramic particles that are heated to temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius. The receiver system is manufactured by the company Heliogen under a DLR licence.

Wind energy research – on a large scale

The DLR stand at the Hannover Messe also provides an exclusive insight into the wind energy research farm WiValdi (Wind Validation), which is currently under construction. This unique test infrastructure will enable wind energy research on full-size equipment – for DLR and partners from science and industry. The common goal is to make wind power more efficient, more cost-effective and quieter – as one of the pillars of a reliable and sustainable energy system. Using an instrumented rotor blade model, visitors to the DLR stand can experience and explore for themselves the forces and effects acting on the rotor blade of a wind turbine. Multimedia exhibits show data from the research park, convey the structure and focal points, and provide an insight into the production of rotor blades by DLR’s industrial partner in the Hannover Messe partner country Portugal.

Climate-friendly mobility – bringing power-based fuels into use

Electricity-based fuels – also referred to as e-fuels or Power-to-Liquid (PtL) fuels – are liquid fuels. To produce them, carbon dioxide from the air and hydrogen obtained using renewable electricity for electrolysis are used. In addition to alternative powertrains and further improvement options, power-based fuels are necessary to achieve climate protection targets in road transport and shipping. They are also indispensable for emission-free air transport – particularly on medium- and long-haul routes, where there are currently no technological alternatives. DLR is working with partners from industry and research to transfer the manufacturing processes from the laboratory – with the help of demonstration and pilot plants – to an industrial scale. This ‘scaling up’ is an essential step to make the technology suitable for industrial use and to be able to produce the large quantities required.

Industrialisation of hydrogen technologies

Whether for energy, mobility or industry – hydrogen technologies will play a central role in all three sectors in order to produce less carbon dioxide. At the Hannover Messe, DLR is showing a fuel-cell-powered cargo bicycle that will be used primarily for delivering packages in inner cities. Compared to other powertrain technologies such as batteries, it offers a much greater range of 150 kilometres per tank filling, a longer daily period of use and short refuelling times of around three minutes.

A second DLR stand at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe exhibition (Hall 13, B40) will showcase current DLR projects on the production and use of hydrogen by means of electrolysis and fuel cells, and on storing the gas in salt caverns.

Further insights – ExoMatter spin-off project and DLR Quantum Computing Initiative

Also part of the DLR stand are the spin-off project ExoMatter and the DLR Quantum Computing Initiative. The company ExoMatter digitalises material searches. The basis of this service is a cloud-based platform that also works with artificial intelligence methods. Within the framework of the DLR Quantum Computing Initiative, prototype quantum computers of different architectures are to be built and the associated technologies and applications developed within the next four years. DLR is contributing its own skills and expertise from research and development. The establishment of an industrially sustainable ecosystem and the implementation in commercially relevant applications are the focal points.

DLR contributions to the Hannover Messe conference programme

DLR is represented in the Hannover Messe conference programme (Main Stage, Hall 18, H’Up) by high-profile speakers and panellists. Topics include Space and Sustainability, Satellite Data for Industry, and Space Technology – Industrial Use Cases.

All information about DLR at Hannover Messe can also be found on the DLR special page: https://event.dlr.de/en/hannover-messe-2022/