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The German Aerospace Center (DLR) will be presenting current technologies and developments at HANNOVER MESSE 2023 under the motto "Enabling Transformation". The stand, which is part of the Energy Solutions exhibition focus (Hall 13, D62), is designed to give visitors an insight into how DLR's research projects are making the economy successful and working with companies to shape the future of the industry, energy and mobility sectors.

Solar Fuels: DLR technologies paving the way for industrial production

One thematic highlight is the development of technical components and processes for the production of solar fuels. These are intended to close the technological gaps between basic research, transfer and industrial application in the field of alternative, climate-compatible fuels. For several years now, DLR has been researching the use of concentrating solar technology to generate electricity and fuels. Large mirror fields capture the sunlight and concentrate it on a central point at the top of a solar tower. There, they heat a reactor developed by DLR to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius, whereupon thermochemical processes are set in motion that can, for example, split hydrogen from water or alternatively produce gases from carbon and water. These synthesis gases can be used in processes for metal, cement or fertilizer production and are also the basis for alternative, climate-friendly fuels, which are needed to achieve the ambitious climate protection targets in the mobility sector. In aviation, for example, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are currently the most promising solution, especially for long-haul routes.

Smart sector coupling

But the more renewable energies are used, the more flexible the energy networks must be. One measure to achieve this is the consistent and, if possible, intelligent coupling of the electricity, heat and mobility sectors. For example, it is envisaged that vehicles powered by batteries and fuel cells will feed electricity and heat into stationary distribution grids as needed or be used as a mobile source of electricity or heating. An interactive DLR model shows how sector coupling can work in everyday life based on the charging status of a battery-powered car: The charging stations at home recharge the vehicle batteries or feed electricity back into the grid as needed. An intelligent charging management system controls the individual charging currents and thus protects the power grid from overload.

Charging in places without a power connection

Fast charging is also an important aspect of this concept. While fast-charging stations with high charging capacities are becoming increasingly common along highways and in metropolitan areas, the situation in rural areas is rather poor. There, DLR can envision mobile charging stations in the future that will enable electric vehicles to be charged throughout the country, even in places without their own power supply.

Automated driving

DLR is also concerned with the mobility of the future in other ways: For example, it is working together with the Lower Saxony test field on solutions for automated and connected driving on the road. Visitors to the DLR stand can use augmented reality glasses to gain fascinating insights into the research area, which extends over a 280-kilometer test track. Cameras and sensors provide more data than any other test field in the world. The goggles also help researchers visually grasp the volumes of data generated. The research results achieved with the Lower Saxony test field will help science and industry to further advance the approval of automated driving functions.