GreenTech Expo II: Energy

  Field with solar cells Copyright: © Jens Fischer

Monday, October 24, to Thursday, November 10, 2022


Tuesday, January 10, to Monday, January 23, 2023

Where? “Campus-Balkon”, opposite the Production Technology Cluster, at the level of Campus Boulevard 30 in Aachen-Melaten.
Costs The exposition is open to the public and free of charge
RWTH Knowledge Hub

Since GreenTech Expo II – “Energy” was very well received by numerous visitors, the outdoor exhibition will be on display again in January 2023. This time, it will open on the so-called „Campus-Balkon“, opposite the Production Technology Cluster, at the level of Campus Boulevard 30 on Campus Melaten.

On more than twenty banners measuring 3.50 meters by 1.80 meters, the exhibition focuses on the change in the energy system and the urgently needed energy transition. It provides information on how this can succeed, presents new energy sources such as hydrogen - the German government launched the market ramp-up of hydrogen technologies with the National Hydrogen Strategy in June 2020 - and innovative research projects at RWTH. For example, NAUTILUS, which aims to reduce the environmental footprint of maritime transport by introducing an alternative hybrid drive train for passenger ships through electrification and the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Visitors to the second GreenTech Expo will also learn how noise reduction can create greater acceptance for wind turbines, how road surfaces or road infrastructure can be used for solar energy, how deep geothermal energy - i.e. the use of geothermal energy at depths of between 400 and 5,000 meters - can make a major contribution to the climate neutrality of the heating market, or how founders from RWTH have succeeded in offering an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional electricity storage systems with sustainable electricity storage from used e-car batteries.

Also in view of the upcoming winter and the energy-saving measures adopted by the German government to secure the country's energy supply in the short and medium term, GreenTech Expo II offers a highly informative overview of the topic of "energy": what is the status quo and where do we want/need to go?

Supplementary QR codes and links lead to the websites of individual institutes, chairs and start-ups or to films, so interested visitors can optionally obtain further information.


You can view the banner texts here:


The Banner Texts

The 17 Global Sustainability Goals

The 17 global sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are aimed at everyone: governments worldwide, but also civil society, the private sector and academia.

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

Renewable Energies - Overview of the Electricity, Heat and Transport Sectors

Electricity from renewable energies
The share of renewable energy in the electricity sector fell from 45.2 percent (2020) to 41.1 percent (2021) of gross electricity consumption. A total of about 233.6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2021. This was about 17 billion kWh less than in the previous year (minus seven percent). Here, the negative development is primarily attributable to the unfavorable weather in 2021.

Development of the proportions of renewable energies
Overall, the share of renewable energies has developed positively in recent years. However, there are major differences between the individual sectors: While the share of renewable energies in gross electricity consumption has more than doubled in the last ten years and stood at 41.1 percent in 2021, the shares in the heating (16.5 percent) and transport (6.8 percent) sectors are rising only slowly.

Text: German Environment Agency

Change in the Energy System - Energy Sources of Today and Tomorrow

Fossil energy sources - the primary form of energy is heat
The combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and nuclear fission in nuclear power plants generate heat; the energy created by this is converted into electricity with the help of generators. Only a small proportion of
energy sources are used directly as materials, for example in the organic chemical industry. Around 17 million metric tons of oil are used there, which corresponds to around 15 percent of the oil consumed in Germany each year.
Replacing these hydrocarbons with renewable molecules would mean an additional energy requirement (electricity) of around 50 percent of the amount of electricity already used in Germany today.

Future energy system - the primary form of energy is electricity
The energy transition strives for an energy system based on regeneratively generated electricity through photovoltaics (solar cells) and wind turbines. A key success factor is the competitiveness of these technologies, which has been achieved in the last decade. The changeover is thus from heat to electricity, which, as the highest-value form of energy, can be converted into all the forms of energy required, such as power, communications, light, heat and chemicals. Direct use of electricity is the most efficient option in most cases, as it results in the lowest conversion losses.

However, there are exceptional applications, such as in international air traffic: Here, material fuels generated from electricity must be used that are based on hydrogen, which in turn can be converted into so-called eFuels in combination with carbon. These are synthetic fuels that can be used in the same way as conventional kerosene or diesel. However, further conversion losses have to be accepted for their production.

Sustainable Forms of Energy at a Glance

Working Together for a Successful Energy Transition

We have all long been aware that we need the energy transition and that we must save energy.
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine has made many people aware of the urgency of the matter from a different perspective. It is not only a matter of making Germany climate-neutral (although this is the primary goal), but we must also become less dependent on energy imports.

Amendment to the Climate Protection Act
With the amendment to the Climate Protection Act in 2021, the German government has tightened climate protection targets and stipulated greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045. Emissions are to be reduced by 65 percent by 2030 and by 88 percent by 2040 compared with 1990 levels.

The energy transition - this is how we'll make it a success
Expanding renewable energies and converting supply systems to them are not enough for a successful energy transition. We need to save energy and use it more efficiently. Our energy needs must be significantly reduced so that we can stay within our means. This applies not only to electricity, but also to heat and transport.
Only if we work together to increase energy efficiency and reduce our energy consumption can the energy transition succeed.

Saving energy protects the environment and our wallets
Efficient use of electricity and heat is crucial if climate change and the energy transition are to be addressed as major challenges. Energy-efficient actions and economies are good for the climate and lead to lower CO2 emissions. Energy can be saved almost everywhere: in the home, in industry, in trade and transport. And it's not just the environment that benefits. Saving energy and the associated costs takes the pressure off citizens, companies and municipalities. A smaller ecological footprint also leads to a cost advantage that becomes more apparent when the price of greenhouse gas emissions rises.

RWTH and the Rhenish mining area, episode 1 – Energy

Click here for the energy quiz

It Won't be Possible Without an Increase in Energy Efficiency

International competitiveness through energy efficiency
The international competitiveness and future viability of the German economy also depends on how energy efficient it is. Energy efficiency promotes new business models in all sectors, it is a stimulus for the economy, for innovative technologies and services from German companies, and it opens up new markets.

The brochure Energy Efficiency in Figures (de) from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) provides information on the progress made in implementing energy efficiency policy in Germany.

Energy efficiency strategy 2050
At the end of 2019, the German government adopted the Energy Efficiency Strategy 2050 (EffSTRA) with regard to its energy efficiency policy, thereby also setting a target for reducing primary energy consumption by 2030 for the first time: By 2030, this is to fall by 30 percent - compared with 2008 - and by 2050 by as much as 50 percent compared with 2008. The EffSTRA makes a significant contribution to the implementation of energy and climate policy targets at both national and European level.

More information on EffSTRA (de)

Successfully Transforming and Shaping the Energy Transition

Two trend-setting research projects with participation of the FCN
In order to achieve the energy transition targets issued by the German government for 2050, the number and installed capacity of renewable energy plants must be significantly expanded. This requires far-reaching changes to the existing electrical energy supply, which will be supplemented and in some cases even accelerated by advancing digitalization and sector coupling.

ENSURE 2 project: New energy network structures for the energy transition
The Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) at RWTH Aachen University is part of the interdisciplinary consortium in the research project "New Energy Grid Structures for the Energy Turnaround (ENSURE in German)" of the Copernicus Research Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The goal of the ENSURE 2 project is the economically, technically and socially compatible and successful design of the energy transition. The future energy system is to be optimized by preventing bad investments - as a result of an incorrect assessment of the development - and the targeted expansion of existing grid infrastructure. The aim is not only to reduce costs for operators and end customers, but also to achieve ecological and macroeconomic gains through increased system efficiency.

BeNutzLaSA project: cost relief for charging hotspots
The FCN is also involved in the research project "Better use of charging infrastructure through smart incentive systems" (BeNutzLaSA), the aim of which is to relieve the load on charging hotspots with very high usage by means of dynamic pricing. In this way, unnecessary charging is shifted out of the charging hotspots.
When calculating the charging hotspots, the utilization of the distribution network is taken into account, and data-based KIM methods are used to forecast the charging infrastructure. Dynamic prices are provided by existing systems via the project partners SMART/LAB and Hubject. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

Click here for an overview of all the research topics of the FCN.

TransUrban.NRW – A Real Lab of the Energy Transition

For visible innovations and consistent climate protection

Fifth generation heating networks
While the decarbonization of electricity generation in Germany is making significant progress, there is still a lot of untapped potential in the heating sector.
The TransUrban.NRW real laboratory is investigating what contribution 5GDHC ("Fifth Generation District
Heating and Cooling") based district energy systems can make to the heat transition. These so-called fifth-generation heating networks are capable of integrating renewable energies and waste heat at different temperature levels into a supply system.

Shaping the future of energy together
As one of the winners of the competition "Reallabore der Energiewende" ("Real Labs of the Energy Transition") of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), TransUrban.NRW is shaping the transition of classic fossil district heating systems to innovative, low-CO2 energy solutions. By replacing the classic district heating supply in traditional mining areas, which often operates at over 100 degrees Celsius, with 5GDHC, the reallab contributes to improving the CO2 balance of cities and to sustainable structural change in the coalfields of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Creation of four quarters
As part of the TransUrban.NRW real laboratory, four neighborhoods are being supplied with heat and cold by means of 5GDHC. The project involves collaboration with stakeholders from neighborhood development, the energy supplier E.ON, municipal utilities and the scientific community, among others. The cities of Gelsenkirchen, Mönchengladbach, Herne - where the Shamrockpark is being built - and Erkrath were selected for the implementation of the real lab because they are located in structural change regions dominated by hard coal or lignite.

TransUrban.NRW presentation

More information on TransUrban.NRW

EU Research Project NAUTILUS

For environmentally friendly maritime transport

Alternative power generation system for passenger ships
Maritime transport is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases and pollutants.
NAUTILUS (Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships) is an EU-funded research project - with the participation of RWTH - and it aims to reduce the environmental footprint of maritime transport by introducing an alternative hybrid propulsion system for passenger ships through electrification and the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
NAUTILUS aims to increase the energy efficiency of the propulsion system by 10 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent and other air pollutants by 99 percent.

Novel technology for maritime transport for the first time
The technology investigated in the NAUTILUS project is the maritime application of the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in combination with a battery system. SOFCs convert chemical energy (such as hydrogen, natural gas, diesel) directly into electrical energy. Successful adoption of this scalable technology in marine applications enables fuel flexibility and results in high conversion efficiency. The challenge in a marine propulsion system is to cope with large changes in power demand, for example when accelerating or maneuvering in port.

RWTH develops a needed energy management unit
For the combined heat and power supply of ships, the team led by Cem Ünlübayir from the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) at RWTH Aachen University is developing an intelligent energy management unit. This will optimize the efficiency of the fuel cell. The state of charge of the lithium-ion battery is adjusted in each case so that both maximum support of the on-board network and recharging are possible while maintaining a long service life.

More info on the research project NAUTILUS

Video about the research project NAUTILUS

More Acceptance for Wind Energy Plants

CWD research project contributes to noise reduction

Development of new areas necessary
Due to the globally advancing expansion of onshore wind energy, the acceptance of residents of nearby settlements is becoming increasingly important when it comes to designing new wind turbines. New areas need to be developed, often closer to populated areas. Some people feel disturbed by the wind turbines. As such, residents often apply stricter standards than those applied to road, rail and air traffic. A central factor is the sound radiation of the turbine. Inadequate design can lead to tonal noise. Through current research, the Center for Wind Power Drives (CWD) at RWTH is working to increase acceptance for wind energy.

Aim of the research project DynaWEA
At the CWD, models are being developed as part of the DynaWEA research project (From Dynamics to Acoustics of a Gearless Wind Turbine) that can allow us to make reliable statements about the acoustic behavior of the turbine even before prototypes are built, in order to detect and avoid acoustic anomalies. The tool chain developed by an interdisciplinary team includes simulations of the electromagnetic field in the generator air gap, multi-body simulations of the mechanical structure, and calculation of airborne sound propagation in the vicinity of the wind turbine. With the help of this tool chain, the project was able to calculate the sound radiation of a wind turbine of the 3 MW class. A wind turbine of this type can supply up to 2,500 households with electricity.
DynaWEA is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

More on the research project DynaWEA

Electricity via DC Grids - a Building Block of the Energy Transition

FEN research campus makes an important contribution

DC grids for future energy supply
The energy transition can only succeed if various CO2 reduction measures are linked together as if they belonged to one set. The "Flexible Electrical Networks Research Campus (FEN)" is making a significant contribution to this. At FEN, research is being conducted into flexible, automated direct current (DC) grids for the energy supply of the future. These are intended to replace the classic AC grids in order to provide a secure, more efficient and flexible supply as the number of decentralized energy sources continues to rise.

From research to realization
Research is being conducted in various interdisciplinary research areas to implement the idea of DC grids: from materials and components for DC grids to new energy services, operating and safety concepts, and to further the acceptance of the technology. Ecological, economic and urban planning aspects are directly incorporated into the development of the grids. In addition, the partners involved in FEN are actively involved in the development of international standards and norms for DC grids and their components.

Science and industry - equal partners under one roof
In addition to 16 RWTH institutes, 17 renowned industrial partners are involved in FEN, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The partners conduct research under one roof, and the campus committees have equal representation. This enables innovations to be achieved beyond individual areas of expertise.

Film about the "DC Grid Vision"

More information on FEN

Digitization of Energy Systems

RWTH professor does pioneering work and receives the NRW Innovation Award

Enormous challenges for power distribution networks
Germany's target of climate neutrality by 2050 - NRW wants to be climate neutral five years earlier - and the gradual switch to renewable energies required to achieve this, mean that the demands on the electricity distribution networks are growing at the same time. A large proportion of renewable energies are connected to low- and medium-voltage grids. Both the changing role of power distribution networks and the increased number of connected components require novel solutions for the digitization of distribution networks.

Better use of the capacities of existing networks
As part of the Horizon 2020 research project SOGNO funded by the European Commission, Professor Antonello Monti, who holds the chair of the same name at the Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems (ACS) at RWTH Aachen University, and his team have developed an innovative software platform that makes better use of the capacities of existing grids and supports the expansion of renewable energies.
Monti was awarded the 100,000 euro Innovation Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in the "Innovation" category. After the German President's Future Prize, this award is the most renowned award of its kind in Germany.

New concept for the automation of modern energy networks
The SOGNO platform uses concepts and methods from the world of the Internet of Things and addresses a new concept for the automation of modern energy networks. In the past, automation solutions were implemented as monolithic products by individual companies.
"Our concept was developed in an open source manner to encourage collaboration between all stakeholders and the creation of an open ecosystem," explains Professor Monti.

Innovation award 2022 Category "Innovation" Professor Antonello Monti

Innovation Award NRW awarded to Professor Antonello Monti

Solar Energy from the Road

RWTH involved in "Rolling Solar" research project for sustainable energy generation

Integration of solar cell materials into road surface and road infrastructure
The research project "Rolling Solar" is part of the Interreg program "Euregio Meuse-Rhine" and is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Rolling Solar" is supported by the provinces of North Brabant, Flemish Brabant, Limburg and Liège as well as the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK). Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are connected by an enormous road network with a total length of one million kilometers. This represents a significant usable area that can be used to harvest renewable energy by integrating solar cells into road surfaces and especially into acoustic barriers of the road infrastructure.

Power generation without land use
The project aims to promote sustainable cross-border collaboration between industry, research and stakeholders. The goal is to help local manufacturers and construction companies realize cost-effective integration of long sections of solar cell material into public infrastructure. This will enable large-scale, sustainable power generation without additional land use and with high social acceptance close to the point of consumption.

RWTH chair develops important application-specific circuits
The Chair of Integrated Analog Circuits at RWTH is developing application-specific circuits (see picture) for "Rolling Solar" for low-cost mass production. Optimal energy yield can be achieved with these circuits; their key advantage is extremely fast control that takes into account the shadows cast by moving road users. The effects of the deviating aging processes of the solar cells, which are mainly caused by mechanical stress, can thus also be mitigated.

Film on "Rolling Solar"

More information on Rolling Solar

Hydrogen as the Energy Carrier of the Future

National hydrogen strategy heralds market ramp-up

The importance of hydrogen for Germany
Hydrogen is already being tested today in a wide range of applications in the areas of mobility, households and industry. With the National Hydrogen Strategy adopted in June 2020, the German government has taken a stand on hydrogen as an energy carrier and heralded the market ramp-up of hydrogen technologies. By promoting research and development as well as the export of technology related to innovative hydrogen technologies, German companies are also strengthening their competitiveness.

Green hydrogen for a sustainable global energy system
Green hydrogen is produced CO2-free on the basis of renewable energies - for example through electrolysis. It is a versatile energy carrier that can be used to store energy from the sun and wind, transport it and use it as required, for example in fuel cells to generate electricity and heat.
In line with the motto "Shipping the sunshine," green hydrogen can be produced in wind-, sun- and water-rich regions and exported from there to meet global energy needs.

Real laboratories of the energy transition
The "Reallabore der Energiewende" (Real labs of the energy transition) funding format of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) is intended to test hydrogen technologies in real applications on an industrial scale in order to gather corresponding empirical values for the market ramp-up of the technologies. In total, eleven of the twenty Energy Transition Real Labs focus on hydrogen and want to produce, distribute, store and use it on a megawatt scale.

Achieving speed in the ramp-up together
Cooperation between science and industry is accelerating the market ramp-up. For example, industry is actively investing in hydrogen technologies and promoting the market ramp-up with demonstration projects. In support of this, research is continuously supplying appropriate innovations. Today's technologies are being further developed in close cooperation and costs for consumers are being reduced in order to derive sustainable business models.

Hydrogen Future Cluster

For a sustainable, hydrogen-based energy economy

Hydrogen as an energy carrier offers the opportunity to establish a local and global CO2-neutral energy economy. 2021, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has selected the Hydrogen Future Cluster as one of the seven winners of the "Clusters4Future" initiative. RWTH and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) jointly initiated the application of the Future Cluster. The cluster is coordinated by the RWTH Chair of Thermodynamics of Mobile Energy Conversion Systems (TME).

Applying hydrogen technologies
The Hydrogen Future Cluster bundles already existing competences in the field of hydrogen technologies in and around Aachen with parties from industry, science and society. The objective is networking on a regional, national and international level in order to transfer hydrogen technologies from research and development to actual application. From a technological point of view, the research partners RWTH and FZJ cover the entire value chain from hydrogen production, storage and distribution to utilization and the development of hydrogen technologies to market maturity.

The vision: "Hydrogen technologies made in Germany".
An international hydrogen-based society using exclusively renewable energies forms the vision of the Hydrogen Future Cluster. In this sense, energy and material cycles are to be closed and market activation measures of today are to be underpinned with innovations of tomorrow. Aachen as a possible model region for the production, distribution, storage and use of hydrogen under the umbrella of "hydrogen technologies made in Germany".

More information on the hydrogen cluster of the future

SmartQuart – The First Living Lab of the Energy Transition

Districts to Be Networked in Terms of Energy

Connecting Energy, Heat, and Mobility

To hit the climate goals, the individual sectors of energy, heat, and mobility must be more closely connected than in the past. This is the only way to turn the electricity transition into an energy transition.

The SmartQuart research project is the first "Living Lab of the Energy Transition," a funding format from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The project aims to show that the necessary interconnection within a district and with neighboring areas, is already technically and economically feasible today. The following RWTH institutions are involved in this lab: the Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building (E3D), the Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate (EBC), and the Teaching and Research Field for Real Estate Development (iPE).

Districts Form the Living Lab

SmartQuart enables the potential of renewable energy technologies to be tested in real-life conditions. Future residents of the districts as well as planners, operators, and energy suppliers are participating in the research project. Through their involvement, the needs and assessments of different user groups are systematically investigated in the project. Thus, different stakeholders evaluate energy savings, building qualities, comfort, and risks from different perspectives.

Efficient Use of Energy Infrastructures

Possibilities for a sustainable, energetic supply are developed and analyzed for three different districts. Bedburg as a rural residential area, Kaisersesch as a rural industrial area, and Essen as an urban area form a cross-section for different types of districts in Germany. The areas are each networked within themselves and also with each other. Smart grid solutions intelligently couple heating, cooling, green electricity, hydrogen, and mobility.

Saving Gas With the Aid of Heat Pumps

RWTH Institution Researches Options for Fast Implementation

Climate-Neutral Building Heating
A key technology for climate-neutral heating supply, heat pumps can replace gas as a main energy source. To this end, the German government is planning to install a total of 500,000 heat pumps from 2024. For this, challenges in energy efficiency, acceptance, and integration of heat pumps have to be overcome. The Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate at RWTH is researching this topic at present.

Increasing Energy Efficiency

By increasing the energy efficiency of heat pumps in the long term, both annual costs and emissions can be reduced. The RWTH project LOGIN is exploring ways to increase the efficiency of heat pumps.

Promoting Acceptance

In order for heat pumps to be used as heat generators in the long term, the technology’s appeal must also be bolstered for customers. For this reason, reducing noise emissions and lowering overall costs are among the core aspects of current research in the RWTH LowNoise project.

Integration Into Buildings

Heat pumps must be able to be installed quickly and in a standardized manner. This challenge is the focus of Urban Energy Lab 4.0, an RWTH research project seeking to establish a unique and highly networked infrastructure for the design and analysis of new urban energy supply concepts, funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Short-Term Measures for Saving Gas

LOGIN Project at RWTH

LowNoise Project at RWTH

RWTH Project: Urban Energy Lab 4.0

Fuel Science Center – Fuel Design for Sustainable Mobility

Green, Economical, and Efficient: A Ketone- Ester-Alcohol-Alkane (KEAA) Blend for Engines of the Future

The Fuel Science Center (FSC) at RWTH establishes fundamental knowledge as well as novel methods and concepts for the development of sustainable technical solutions for the use of renewable energy and alternative carbon sources in liquid energy carriers for CO2-neutral and virtually pollution-free drive systems.

The model-based Fuel Design Process can tailor fuels for efficient combustion while minimizing the environmental impact and production costs. A ketone-ester-alcohol-alkane (KEAA) blend designed in this way for high-efficiency gasoline engines was evaluated across disciplines and compared with Super E10 fuel.

More information on KEAA

The Fuel Center: Vision and Mission

Heat From the Earth – Geothermal Energy Makes an Important Contribution to the Energy Transition

Technology With a Long History

Deep geothermal energy – i.e., the use of geothermal energy at depths of between 400 and 5,000 meters – can make a major contribution to the climate neutrality of the heating market because it supplies local energy regardless of the weather conditions and takes up little space in settlements. This advanced technology has been used in many European cities for decades now. Geothermal energy is used both to generate electricity and directly in the heating sector.

Using a Natural Energy Source

Geothermal energy focuses on hydrothermal reservoirs; this refers to thermal water-bearing rocks up to 5,000 meters below ground. Geothermal waters can be extracted from deep wells at temperatures between 15 and 180 degrees Celsius. They are available regardless of the season and time of day and can be used in particular for municipal heat supply systems, district heating, the housing industry, and providing industrial process temperatures.

RWTH Research on Geothermal Energy

At RWTH, the following institutions are conducting research on geothermal energy, among others: the Chair of Applied Geophysics 1: Computational Geoscience and Reservoir Engineering (CGGR), the Geological Institute Aachen (GIA), and the Institute for Mine Surveying, Mining Subsidence Engineering, and Geophysics in Mining (IFM).

For example, GIA and IFM are involved in the research project KarboEx: Carbonate Exploration NRW – Tapping a Heat Source for the Carbonate-Free Heat Market. In North Rhine-Westphalia, carbonates – salts and esters of carbonic acid – are available over large areas at depths with sufficient temperatures for geothermal heat utilization, but have not yet been sufficiently explored. Exploration is fundamentally cost-intensive.

The research results of KarboEx can be used to estimate the geothermal potential of carbonates in North Rhine-Westphalia and to guide further exploration.

 Further Information on the KarboEX Research Project

 Further Information From the Institute for Applied Geophysics and Geothermal Energy (GGE)

Clean Energy From Recycled E-Car Batteries

Voltfang Creates Environmentally Friendly Electricity Storage

Innovative Concept Facilitates Circular Economy for Lithium-Ion Batteries
The increasing demand for e-cars and stationary electricity storage is placing a huge strain on raw materials, the lives of people in the local mining areas, and the environment. The start-up Voltfang, founded as an RWTH spin-off by Afshin Doostdar, Roman Alberti, and David Oudsandji, has been offering an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional electric storage since 2021 with sustainable electricity storage from used e-car batteries. This reduces the need to produce new batteries and doubles the life span of already used batteries, not only saving CO2 emissions, but also water, energy, and high quantities of resources such as lithium and cobalt that would otherwise be produced in battery production.

Independence From the Power Grid and Rising Costs

In a certified test procedure, the battery modules are tested and show a residual capacity of over 80 percent. The electricity storage system developed by Voltfang allows excess electricity to be stored and accessed as needed to cap expensive peak loads. A PV system is not mandatory for industry and commerce to benefit from the advantages of the storage system. Even if the electricity is drawn from the grid, the requirements in the expansion of the charging infrastructure of electric car fleets or the backup of emergency power supply, for example, can be met using the electricity storage system developed by Voltfang. In addition, users can optimize their own consumption.

Voltfang Introduction on YouTube

 Further Information on Voltfang

Digital Hub for the Future of Energy Management

envelio Makes Life Easier for Distribution Grid Operators and Grid Customers

Heavy Load on Distribution Grids in the Energy Transition
Millions of new wind turbines and solar panels have to be integrated into our power grids. Likewise, the number of new consumers, as well as charging stations for e-cars or heat pumps, is increasing exponentially. The integration of these plants places a heavy burden on the distribution grids. In addition, there is often little transparency about the utilization of the grids, especially in the low-voltage sector. Unclear IT structures mean that many processes at network operators are controlled manually, creating a high workload.

Intelligent Grid Platform for a Fast and Cost-Effective Energy Transition
The lack of a scalable software platform for managing future grids motivated the start-up envelio, founded in 2017 as an RWTH spin-off by Simon Koopmann, Fabian Potratz, Philipp Goergens, Moritz Cramer, and Philipp Erlinghagen, to develop its product: the Intelligent Grid Platform, a software assistance system that transforms power grids into digital, flexible, and interactive smart grids. In this way, all grid data can be permanently united and processes in grid planning and grid operation management can be handled digitally and automatically.

Sustainable Change of the Energy System
The vision of envelio is to accelerate the energy transition through rapid grid integration of renewable energies, charging stations, and heat pumps and by shaping the energy grids for our future. To this end, algorithms from Europe's leading energy research clusters are brought into real-world application.

Further Information on envelio

Our Vision of Sustainability

Our goal is to ...

… develop a vision for a sustainable RWTH in a participatory process, to develop and implement a roadmap with concrete goals for RWTH, and to continuously review as well as further develop these. In order to establish RWTH as a driving force for the sustainable development of society, we align our development goals with national as well as international frameworks based on the United Nations' Agenda 2030.

… orient our research more sustainably, anchor the topic of sustainability in all faculties and profile areas, think ahead in research projects, and provide solutions for a sustainable transformation of our society.

… make our teaching more sustainable, anchor the topic of sustainability in all courses of study, and focus more strongly on empowering our learners and teachers to use innovative ideas to drive the development of solutions.

… make the operations of RWTH Aachen University more sustainable, reduce our ecological consumption of resources in the spirit of climate neutrality, and actively shape responsible, inclusive coexistence.

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