The basic principle of solar-thermal collectors is simple. All utilize sunlight to warm up a heat transfer medium and thereby make heat energy available. Some supply households in our latitudes with warm water and solar thermal heating. Other technological variants are located in the sun belt of the earth. Those feed power turbines with water steam and supply whole regions with electricity. Over the years, the technology has found new applications and the variety of solar-thermal products is enormous. Accredited testing institutions play a significant role to ensure the quality of solar collectors and other thermal heat generators, such as heat pumps, and to provide transparency on the international market. Dr. Korbinian Kramer, Head of the TestLab Solar Thermal Systems at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, describes how a testing institution acts in such an environment and continues to reinvent itself.
The Silicon PV – International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics came back to Freiburg from 03rd to 5th of April where it began in 2011. The conference series was founded with the goal of offering an outstanding high-class scientific program on advanced technologies, materials and concepts for crystalline silicon solar cells and modules. This year, 370 participants from 25 countries have registered to attend. Ralf Preu, Ph.D. Director Division PV Production Technologies and Quality Assurance is chairman of the conference. In an interview with Innovation4E he talks about the conference’s highlights, new technologies and the challenges of the PV industry.
Since 2014 Fraunhofer ISE maintains the Energy Charts portal (www.energy-charts.de) which displays current energy data visually in interactive graphs and diagrams. With just a few clicks, one can view illustrative diagrams that provide information about the share of renewable energies in the power supply in Germany. Prof. Bruno Burger is the initiator and developer of the Energy Charts. We spoke with him about the project and the newest developments. Read more
It is necessary to develop efficient and cost-effective forms of energy storage for the future energy system, so that the final demand for electricity, heat, cooling energy or mechanical energy can be met optimally. Fraunhofer ISE has been active for several decades in many diverse research areas: from chemical storage based on hydrogen and electrochemical storage such as lithium-ion batteries to thermal storage for cold and heat. Dr. Matthias Vetter, head of department Electrical Energy Storage, has given Innovation4E an insight into the above-named research areas.
The VDE institute organizes a series of talks and discussions in the field of Financial Dialogue for Storage Technologies at the conference Energy Storage Europe in Düsseldorf (16.03.2017). Participants amongst others: Matthias Vetter.
A photovoltaic module consists of many interconnected solar cells. One cannot say, however, that the module power is simply the sum of the individual cells. Power losses due to reflection, absorption or electrical losses come about in the integration process. These cell-to-module, or CTM, losses have a large effect on the subsequent module performance and can vary greatly depending on the type of solar cell, material or module design. We at Fraunhofer ISE have created a model based on different material parameters in order to calculate these variations. With SmartCalc.CTM, we have developed a software program that makes PV modules (even) more efficient.