Industry Day on October 12, 2022 –Innovative Energy Research with and for Companies

On October 12, 2022, the Center of Energy Technology (ZET) at the University of Bayreuth invites to the "Industry Day". The event is primarily aimed at medium-sized companies from all industries. It includes a presentation of the ZET laboratories in the TechnologieAllianzOberfranken building and offers company managers numerous opportunities to talk to experts in energy research and energy technology. What opportunities do small and medium-sized companies have to cooperate with ZET in research and development? 

Florian Heberle (FH): There are many opportunities for small and medium-sized companies to cooperate with ZET. This applies both to the research topics and with regard to the funding landscape. The ZET Keylabs include state-of-the-art analytical equipment for measuring thermophysical properties, for fine analysis of smoke and combustion exhaust gases, a partial discharge test rig and a climate chamber with a sun simulator. On the basis of this infrastructure, we carry out contract measurements for various companies or cooperate with our industrial partners in government-funded research projects.

Can you give examples of collaborations that have proved particularly successful?

F.H.: Here I would like to pick out two collaborations as examples to illustrate the thematic breadth of ZET. We have been cooperating with Karl Hopf GmbH from Bayreuth in the field of wastewater treatment for several years. As part of two successive projects in the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), a funding programme of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, a thermal separation plant for industrial and marine wastewater was developed and optimized. Another research project is the "ZET-Reallabor Energiezukunft Wunsiedel". This project is funded with five million euros by the Upper Franconia Foundation (Oberfrankenstiftung). Among other activities, the doctoral students at the ZET Real Laboratory are working on optimizing the operation of the entire energy park in Wunsiedel, the use of oxygen from the electrolysis unit there, and the generation of synthetic fuels.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, many companies are facing the challenge of securing their own energy supply despite scarce resources and rapidly rising costs. Can ZET provide assistance in this regard?

F.H.: In this context, ZET has extensive expertise in increasing energy efficiency in the industrial environment. Particularly worthy of mention are the use of waste heat for heat transformation by means of high-temperature heat pumps or the generation of electricity by means of the Organic Rankine Cycle. However, the energy systems investigated at ZET based on fuel cells or electrolysers will also play an increasingly important role in the substitution of natural gas.

In view of climate change, energy policy in Germany and the European Union is aimed at decarbonization as quickly and comprehensively as possible. Industrial energy systems are to be made more sustainable through a steadily increasing share of renewable energies. How can the research areas of ZET contribute to this?

F.H.: In addition to the technologies already mentioned for sector coupling, i.e. the generation of hydrogen or synthetic fuel from green electricity, we at ZET are working on other sustainable technologies that can be applied in the industrial environment. These include biogas production, the use of ice storage or geothermal energy. Life cycle assessment, i.e. the determination of greenhouse gas emissions, is also part of our research work. We conduct such life cycle analyses, for example, as part of the Geothermal Alliance of Bavaria. In the future, we will also apply corresponding balancing procedures to the energy supply of the University of Bayreuth in the context of the GreenCampus.

The University of Bayreuth has developed its own interdisciplinary hydrogen strategy to advance research into the production, storage and use of "green" hydrogen, and it also has a state-of-the-art research facility in this field in the form of the Bavarian Center of Battery Technology (BayBatt). Are there any approaches to linking these two branches of energy research?

F.H.: With the ZET Real Laboratory, we are already in the midst of implementing such a link. The local conditions in Wunsiedel, with an electrolysis unit and a battery storage system, make it possible to link these two systems. Currently, two doctoral students are working together to use the competencies of ZET and BayBatt to improve the operating strategy of the overall system. The goal is to use the battery storage system as a buffer when the power supply in the grid is high. In turn, the battery storage unit is discharged in the event of low solar or wind power generation. The electrolysis unit can thus be operated more evenly, which increases the service life and thus also the economic efficiency of the system.

More information about the "Industry Day" and registration:

Dr.-Ing. Florian Heberle

Dr.-Ing. Florian HeberleManaging Director Center of Energy Technology (ZET) University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-6803
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