Germany and Canada are both recognised for their leading renewable energy sectors and the partnership between Fraunhofer and UBC is intended to develop and enhance this status. Consequently the two organisations signed a framework agreement on December 21st in order to drive a collaborative relationship that could last for several years.
“The cooperation with the UBC will support us in one of our key topics” said Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “Sources of energy in the 21st century will change, and this brings up many questions we have to solve. With the UBC we have found an excellent international partner for energy research.”
The Fraunhofer Institutes for Environmental Safety and Energy Technology, UMSICHT in Oberhausen, and Machine Tools and Forming Technology, IWU in Chemnitz will work with UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre, CERC with the support of 4 million euros worth of funding. One of the mutual areas of interest is energy storage, particularly with regard to the use of hydrogen for this purpose. The two organisations will therefore examine the development of innovative electrodes and electrolysis cells for PEM electrolysers with a view to finding ways of enhancing and performance and efficiency. Another area to be looked at is the recycling of hydrogen used in the production of solar cells which may be directed into fuel cells, thus enabling the energy used in solar cell production to be reclaimed.
“Just like Fraunhofer, UBC recognizes the importance of environmental technologies for the future” said Dr Christopher Hebling, Head of Energy Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Not only do both partners undertake excellent research in this field, but they also stand out due to their common strategy for cooperation with the industry. This alliance will strengthen and expand the leading position of the UBC and Fraunhofer in this market.”
The partnership will also investigate conversion of biomass materials concentrating on methods to control and reduce the tar content in product gas during gasification of wood and wood waste. This purified gas could subsequently be sold on for use in combustion systems in combined heat and power generation. Other areas of interest include production techniques used in wind turbine manufacture.