EnergyBlog
 
 

How far has DESERTEC actually progressed?

11. April 2013, 13.55
In contrast to widespread public perception, DESERTEC, the desert electricity project, is not simply an investment programme of 400 billion euros or more where a start is made today on a project that will reach completion in 40 years. DESERTEC is far more about initiating sustainable development.
Robert Pitz-Paal
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Robert Pitz-Paal
 
 

'The Future of Energy' Year of Science: A different question every week, 1 answer and 150 comments

29. December 2010, 11.00
During 'The Future of Energy' Year of Science, DLR prepared one question each week on the topic of energy, answered by the science journalist, Jan Oliver Löfken. Users were invited to post their questions and comments on the blog, and we responded as they came in – we received a total of 150 contributions. Read 51 posts on our Energy Blog and see how researchers want to safeguard our energy supply in the future and what policies are being put in place for this in the world of politics.
Dorothee Bürkle
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Dorothee Bürkle
 
 

Energy question of the week: Will our appetite for energy continue to increase?

27. December 2010, 10.33
Our energy demand can be split into three main areas: electricity, heating, and fuel for mobility. In Germany, every person needs about 6000 watts of power to maintain his or her affluent, mobile way of life. Americans use almost twice that amount. Compare that with people in developing countries, like Chad, who only have 11 watts at their disposal. Is there a need for more and more energy?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How will energy provision change over the next few decades?

20. December 2010, 10.17
Several studies forecast that by 2050, it will be possible for Germany to obtain a high proportion of its energy from renewable sources. DLR also has significant involvement in the expansion of wind, hydroelectric and solar power stations. But what specific changes can be anticipated here? The DLR Executive Board Member responsible for Energy and Transport research, Ulrich Wagner, provides insight into future prospects.
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Complete autonomy - is there a way to total energy self-sufficiency?

13. December 2010, 09.39
Electricity costs rise every year, as do gas and oil prices. Almost all German citizens are obliged to use the services of gas and electric utility companies to keep their homes warm and supplied with power. Is there no way out of this?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Who uses the most electricity in Germany?

06. December 2010, 09.20
Since 1990, the consumption of electricity in Germany has risen by about one third. Despite more efficient household appliances - for example, refrigerators, energy-saving light bulbs and computers, the VDE (Germany's trade association for the electrical, electronics and information technology sectors) envisages a further increase of almost 30 percent between now and 2025. There is a vast and currently untapped potential for savings. So, who actually accounts for the majority of electricity usage in Germany?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How can urban areas efficiently save energy?

29. November 2010, 12.23
Germany is a country of towns and cities. Almost 90 percent of the population lives and works in urban conurbations – from Aachen to Görlitz, from Flensburg to Friedrichshafen. The need for energy is obviously highest where these people are located, and that is the key to achieving a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. However, what form should intelligent urban redevelopment take, from transport through residential accommodation to workplaces?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: What is the EU's strategy for securing energy supply for the future?

22. November 2010, 09.40
20-20-20. The European Union's energy and climate policies have revolved around these figures for years. By the year 2020, 20 percent of our energy will come from renewable sources, reducing greenhouse gases by at least 20 percent and increasing energy efficiency by 20 Percent. All 27 member states are required to achieve these objectives. But now, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, has put forward an energy strategy for the entire EU. What are the most important plans for the future of energy supplies?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can nuclear waste be made safe?

15. November 2010, 08.55
With the decision to extend the service life of German nuclear power stations and the demonstrations against Castor waste transport, the issue of a definitive solution for storage of nuclear waste is a hot topic once again. For instance, the suitability of the salt deposits in Gorleben, Lower Saxony, is being investigated once again, and other potential storage locations in Germany are being looked into. But is there no alternative to storing nuclear waste for thousands of years underground?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Why do solar power stations also need so much water?

08. November 2010, 19.33
Solar power plants either make use of solar cells to generate electricity directly, or they use heat from concentrated sunlight to generate it indirectly. The illuminated surfaces of solar panels or mirrors must be as clean as possible so that sunlight can be used most efficiently. Water is used for cleaning, but with only 70 to 80 litres of water per 1000 kilowatt-hours of power generation, cleaning forms only the smallest use for water in solar power plants. What do these power plants need so much water for?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: What progress is the DESERTEC project making on power from the desert?

02. November 2010, 08.41
Last week the industry consortium, Dii (DESERTEC industrial initiative), invited attendees to Barcelona for its first annual meeting on the DESERTEC desert power project. Top of the agenda were current developments in the plan created by DLR for the future supply to Europe of solar power from North Africa and the Middle East. But what projects are bringing us closer to this vision of future energy supply?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much longer will world reserves of the nuclear fuel uranium last?

25. October 2010, 11.06
As controversial as nuclear power is, with its still unresolved risks, waste storage problems and high capital costs, it currently meets about 14 percent of global electrical power demand through 430 power stations. However, as is the case with crude oil, coal or natural gas, reserves of uranium 235 – the fuel used in atomic power stations – are finite, meaning that they will run out one day. This poses a simple question: how much longer will our natural uranium reserves last?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: What techniques are available for storing energy?

18. October 2010, 10.00
Batteries are certainly the most familiar energy storage devices – reliable, available everywhere and convenient. Rechargeable batteries are ideal for cell phones and electric cars, but for large amounts of energy, to overcome shortages in the power grid, they are not the best solution. What other options are available to us today?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Why is energy storage so important?

11. October 2010, 10.20
Whether driving a car, switching on a light, or turning up the heating – we take it for granted that there'll be sufficient energy for us to use at that very moment. But this only works if two basics are in place. Firstly, energy needs to be transported quickly and reliably to the consumer in the required form. Second, energy storage guarantees straightforward access and acts as an 'energy buffer' to fill the gaps in distribution. So, what kinds of storage do we get our everyday energy from?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Is complete self-sufficiency possible with decentralised power stations?

04. October 2010, 09.18
Nearly 80 percent of the electricity used in Europe comes from central power plants to the consumer via the electrical grid. As the popularity of renewable power sources has risen, consumer awareness of the importance of decentralised power production has also grown. The trend for decentralised and intelligent electricity production enjoys further support from projects for networked thermal power stations. Does this technology have the potential to provide an all-inclusive power supply?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Bicycles replacing cars - the future of e-mobility?

27. September 2010, 10.47
According to estimates by the German Federal Government, even though today there are few mass-produced electric cars on the market, there will be a million electric cars on German roads by 2020. Despite numerous pilot projects using electric cars, high expectations are being curbed because of high purchase costs, short ranges and a lack of infrastructure for charging stations. On the other hand, sales of two-wheeled electric vehicles such as scooters and bicycles are breaking all records. So is the electric bicycle replacing the car in terms of e-mobility?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much energy can be saved by using the successors to incandescent light bulbs?

17. September 2010, 14.04
Gradually, the lights are going out over Europe; but this time, only the incandescent ones. Last year, the EU banned the sale of 100- and 75-watt bulbs, and 60-watt bulbs followed them a few weeks ago. By 2012, incandescent bulbs – which transform only five percent of their input power into light and the rest into heat – will no longer be on sale anywhere in Europe. But what will the result of this ban be?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: What part does natural gas play in meeting Germany’s energy requirements?

13. September 2010, 10.04
Whether used for heating, as a vehicle fuel or for power generation in gigantic turbines, natural gas plays a central role in Germany’s national energy supply. With consumption at 100 billion cubic metres a year, its use – and also importation – has almost doubled since 1970; and this trend is still growing. But does such a development make sense?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Which fuel offers the most efficient energy storage?

03. September 2010, 15.37
Whether on the road, by sea or in the air – the basis of modern transport systems is the internal combustion engine. Hardly any other invention has resulted in so many variants in just 100 years of development. One of the reasons for the technical success of diesel and petrol combustion engines is the high energy content of the fuel they burn. But how much energy do fossil fuels really contain, in comparison with hydrogen or lithium ion batteries?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide be stored safely underground?

30. August 2010, 11.20
Coal-fired power stations release more carbon dioxide per kWh than any other fossil fuel facility, and Germany has a large number of just this sort of power station. It is estimated that around 40 billion tons of coal are stored in potential open cast deposits in Lusatia and the Lower Rhine Basin. That makes up 14 percent of world reserves. The question is, can the carbon dioxide emissions be captured and stored underground?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can wind turbines also float on the open sea?

23. August 2010, 10.00
The twelve offshore wind turbines that make up the 'alpha ventus' wind farm, 45 kilometres to the north of the North Sea island of Borkum, can generate sufficient electricity for 50,000 households. Like all other wind farms in the North Sea, these turbines are installed on firm foundations at water depths of between 30 and 50 metres. However, not all coastal countries have such a flat and shallow seabed immediately off their coastline. Might it not be a great deal simpler and less expensive to install wind turbines on floating platforms?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Is any country already able to meet all of its energy needs from renewable sources?

16. August 2010, 10.00
A growing volume of energy originating from renewable sources is being used right around the world – from Europe to America to China. This trend is especially widespread in the electricity-generation sector. Over the last couple of years, the USA and the countries of the EU have been building more power station capacity based on wind, water and solar energy than they in conventionally fuelled power stations, – that is, coal, gas or uranium. However, is any country already able to meet all of its energy needs from renewable sources?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Which type of electricity generation has the least impact on climate?

09. August 2010, 10.30
Coal-fired power stations burn lignite or, for the most part, coal imported from overseas. Solar cells need crystalline silicon that first needs to be extracted from quartz, an energy-intensive process. Therefore, when examining the climate compatibility of power generating plants, it makes sense to not restrict the analysis just to the operation of the plant. Instead, the total energy required should be considered across the entire service life of the plant, typically in excess of 30 years. Viewed against this benchmark, which type of power plant has the best environmental credentials?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can we secure our fuel supply with the help of algal blooms?

02. August 2010, 10.01
Every hot summer, gigantic carpets of blue algae spread across the Baltic, much to the disapointment of seaside visitors looking for a quick dip in the cool water. Cyanobacteria inhabit the yellow-green plumes and can lead to poisoning if ingested. However, these same microorganisms can also produce flammable hydrocarbon chains known as alkanes and alkenes. Might they be suited to diesel and petrol production?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: What is the best way to harness solar energy?

26. July 2010, 11.25
On average, sunlight illuminates every single square metre of the Earth with 1340 watts of power. Measured on human timescales, this energy source is infinite; it warms our planet, enables plants to grow and is the engine driving the winds and weather. But which technology is best able to harness the power of sunlight?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Does the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico mean the end of deep sea drilling?

19. July 2010, 11.52
Since disaster struck the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April 2010, up to nine million litres of crude oil have been gushing into the sea every day. It remains to be seen whether the recently installed 40-ton cap can really stop the majority of the oil flowing from the wellhead, 1500 metres under the sea. The spill will only be stopped definitively when the relief wells are completed in mid-August. But is this catastrophe the beginning of the end for deep sea drilling?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can the human body be used as a power plant?

12. July 2010, 09.53
A human being performing light physical activity needs between 1800 and 3000 calories of energy each day. With hard work and sports, this energy requirement can double. Is it possible to obtain usable electricity or heat from this energy expenditure?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How does a solar cell work?

05. July 2010, 10.19
At present, commercially available solar cells made from polycrystalline silicon operate with an efficiency of 20 percent. Special solar cells composed of other semiconductors such as gallium arsenide have already passed the 40 percent efficiency barrier. In contrast, cells based on organic materials or pigments convert only 10 percent of the sunlight into electrical current at best. All of these use the photovoltaic effect, but what actually happens in the process?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can burning ice solve our energy problems?

28. June 2010, 10.19
Crude oil, coal and natural gas are not the only fossil fuels hidden deep below the surface of the Earth. Right around the globe, enormous quantities of methane hydrates can be found as many people already know, especially since Frank Schätzings famous novel 'The Swarm' (Der Schwarm). This white combustible ice consists of water and methane gas. If thawed in a controlled fashion, many billions of tons of methane could be obtained from it. The question is: do methane hydrate have a genuine role to play in our energy future?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Will the trains of the future be faster and more economical?

21. June 2010, 11.37
On 3 April 2007, during a record breaking attempt using a modified train on specially prepared track, a French TGV travelled at 574.8 kilometres per hour through the French Département of Marne – an speed record for railway trains that still stands. In normal service, TGV trains run at around 320 kph. And Germany's 67 ICE3 trains are capable of reaching 300 kilometres per hour. Will the trains of the future be even faster and still be an economical form of transport?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can solar power be stored?

14. June 2010, 10.09
Solar power stations generate electricity only when it is sunny. So they do not exactly have a great reputation as reliable power providers. But this disadvantage can be overcome with efficient forms of low-cost heat storage. Many ideas are currently being tested, and some of these are even in use. How do storage facilities go about of storing solar power?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How does one weigh the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide?

07. June 2010, 10.53
Automotive manufacturers are now required to indicate the precise level of carbon dioxide emissions for every new car. Small, low-emission cars seldom exceed 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. Gas-guzzling luxury saloons or SUVs (large off-road vehicles or pickups for example) can emit more than three times these levels into the atmosphere. But carbon dioxide is a gas. How does one actually put a gas on a set of scales?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Is there such a thing as free electricity?

31. May 2010, 09.09
When we pay our electricity bill, we are paying for more than just the operation of wind turbines or nuclear power stations. What with rental for the electricity meter, costs for using the power grids, value-added tax and a tax on electricity, coupled with a surcharge for the preferred sourcing of green power, the final price we pay is effectively double the generation cost. Having said that, is it conceivable that there is such a thing as free electricity in the ever more dynamic power market?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can laptops and iPads dispense with power sockets in the future?

25. May 2010, 09.38
'Mobile electricity' - that is, electricity available on the move - is the most valuable form of electrical power. This is why it is worthwhile equipping notebooks and laptops with expensive lithium-ion batteries that need to be recharged at regular intervals by plugging them into power sockets. The iPad, which looks set to spur the market for electronic reader devices, remains uninteresting without its batteries. However, solar cells and hand cranks are already able to generate standalone power for mobile devices. Will these devices be able to cope entirely on their own without power sockets someday?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much energy is there in the Earth's interior?

17. May 2010, 09.49
Ninety-nine percent of the Earth is hotter than 1000 degrees Celsius. Inside Earth's core, temperatures rise to 7000 degrees. In total, the power within our planet amounts to thousands of billions of watts. This reservoir has its origins in the residual heat dating from the time the Earth was created, roughly 4.6 billion years ago, and in the ongoing radioactive decay of long-lived isotopes of uranium, thorium and potassium. The question we need to ask ourselves is why, given these gigantic amounts of energy, does geothermal power still only account for far less than one percent of our energy usage?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can sunlight be used to split water directly into oxygen and hydrogen?

10. May 2010, 09.40
Solar cells are good at converting sunlight directly into electricity. However, they come nowhere close to the efficiency of natural photosynthesis. Using chlorophyll, green plants have mastered the art of producing energy-rich molecules such as sugar and starch from carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. Would it not make sense to harness this natural process to generate energy?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can modern freight ships sail using wind power?

03. May 2010, 12.02
Rising fuel costs are urging shipowners all over the world to find ways to deliver cargo across the seas more economically. In the 1920s, the German Aerospace Center's predecessor institute developed Flettner rotors. Some 80 years later, a cargo ship is again sailing with rotating cylindrical sails. But is this change worth it?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Does the future of wind power lie in the open seas?

26. April 2010, 08.34
In January 2010, wind farms in Germany had a generating capacity of 25,777 megawatts. This means that almost eight percent of Germany's electricity requirement can be met in a climate-neutral way. However, since land areas exposed to strong winds are limited, both large and small-scale power-generating businesses are jostling for position out in the open sea. This poses a simple question: are offshore wind farms genuinely more efficient?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much electricity could be generated from ocean currents?

21. April 2010, 10.37
Electricity has been generated from tidal power for decades. Large installations could supply entire towns and cities. However, tides are not the only forces moving water in our seas. Ocean currents also move huge amounts of water all around the globe. Is it worth exploiting this power source?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Is it possible to fly on nothing but solar power?

12. April 2010, 08.33
In cruise ships, electrical propulsion units – powered by diesel engines – are now standard equipment. Every day, buses with electric motors powered by fuel cells ply the streets of Hamburg. Now the first aircraft powered solely by electric motors are taking off. However, in the quest to find exciting, original and climate-friendly propulsion, are solar cells powerful enough to get an aircraft off the ground?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How is electrical power carried across the sea?

06. April 2010, 08.07
Two trends are emerging for future renewable electricity. In the first, local solar, wind or biomass plants will produce more energy for small communities or single homes. In the second, large amounts of electricity will be generated by solar power stations in desert areas or extensive offshore wind farms, and delivered over long distances to densely populated areas. But how can electrical power be delivered over long distances without large losses?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How can coal be converted into liquid fuel?

29. March 2010, 08.44
When oil becomes scarce, fuel for aircraft and cars will have to be produced from other sources. Since Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch invented the Fischer-Tropsch process in 1925, synthetic fuels can also be derived indirectly from coal. Countries with large coal deposits, such as South Africa and China, make extensive use of this process. But how does the process work?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Has the Emirate of Abu Dhabi overreached itself with its 'Zero Emission City' of Masdar City?

22. March 2010, 09.01
By 2016, the world's first climate-neutral city - Masdar City - is set to emerge from the sands of the Arabian desert. By that date, 50,000 people in Masdar City should be able to meet their energy needs from solar power stations, to move between their 'intelligent-design' houses in electrically-powered cars, and to recycle all their household waste. Nevertheless, isolated cases of Masdar managers resigning their posts are starting to fuel rumours that this ambitious project may, quite literally, be running itself back into the sand. Were the goals of this 22-billion-dollar project perhaps set too high?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can lasers unleash the Sun's power to create a fusion reactor?

15. March 2010, 07.33
Low-cost, safe, climate-friendly and inexhaustible – many energy experts view nuclear fusion as the power source of the future. Having said that, scientists believe that it will take another 40 to 50 years before the first fusion power station is in operation. Hot plasma, trapped within a strong magnetic field is currently the most promising way forward, and Europeans in particular are focusing on this concept. However, might it not be much simpler and quicker to find a way to unleash the fire of the Sun by means of powerful lasers that American physicists are working with?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: What makes a power grid intelligent?

08. March 2010, 09.00
A closely-interconnected grid of power lines and wires 1.7 million kilometres in length and running from power stations to wall sockets delivers a reliable power supply throughout Germany. It has evolved and been maintained over decades, extended in leaps and bounds, and virtually no-one gives any real thought to the interplay between generator and consumer, power frequency and high voltages, sub-stations and transformers. Now, in response to the rising proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, the term Smart Grid (the 'intelligent' power grid) is now coming into common parlance. Was, and is, our existing power grid really so 'dumb'?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How can electricity be generated from hydrogen?

01. March 2010, 08.27
Fuel cells are surely the most elegant way of converting energy-rich fuels into electricity without emitting any carbon dioxide or other exhaust gases if hydrogen is the type of fuel used. Back in 1838, the German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein successfully generated an electrical voltage from hydrogen and oxygen for the first time, using two platinum wires to accomplish this feat. Since then, many different types of fuel cells have been developed to a commercially marketable standard. What underlying principle do they all have in common?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much electrical power can be harnessed from tides?

22. February 2010, 08.02
Under the influence of the Moon's gravity, the water of Earth's oceans rises and falls twice a day. Powerful forces are at work all over the globe between every low and high tide – forces that can be harnessed to generate electrical power. Just how mature is the technology and what is the potential that tidal power stations could unleash?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: are large hydroelectric power stations genuinely good for the environment?

15. February 2010, 08.40
After decades of planning, Belo Monte - the third largest hydroelectric power station in the world, will now be constructed in the Amazonas region of northern Brazil. When the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, IBAMA, approved the plan in early February, it was met with vociferous criticism from environmental conservationists and spokespersons for indigenous groups. So just how green are gigantic hydroelectric power stations really?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How does one turn a T-shirt into a power station?

08. February 2010, 09.02
Whenever the battery in a mobile phone, laptop or MP3 player goes flat, the desperate search for a power socket begins. A power source that everyone can carry with them at all times will provide more independence in the future – their own shirt. That your electronic equipment could ever be recharged by a piece of fabric does sound rather like a fairy tale. But is the 'T-shirt power station' really such an impossibility?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How long will our crude oil reserves last?

01. February 2010, 12.45
The global economic crisis has also had a positive side – the consumption of crude oil fell slightly in 2008 and 2009. Yet before long, it is likely to rise again to about 85 million barrels per day. The International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2009 report states that demand will rise by a further percent each year to 105 million barrels per day by 2030. For how long can we meet this growing demand
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Will we be driving only electric cars in twenty years' time?

25. January 2010, 09.10
The first, purely electrically-driven compact and sports cars are already on the market, but they are much more expensive than their classic diesel or petrol engine counterparts and have a range of no more than 100 kilometres. Only light, high-performance and cheap lithium-ion batteries will help electric cars achieve a breakthrough. Will such electricity storage devices reach production standard in the near future?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Car exhaust gases as a source of electricity?

18. January 2010, 11.08
In cars with internal combustion engines, a large part of the energy stored in diesel or petrol is simply dissipated as lost heat. It is precisely these hot exhaust gases that an increasing number of scientists worldwide want to use for more efficient electricity generation. They are developing and testing thermoelectric generators that can generate electricity from temperature differences of several hundred degrees. But does electricity from hot car exhaust gases really save fuel?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much energy does the Sun send us every day?

12. January 2010, 11.30
Our Sun is a gigantic fusion reactor with an expected lifetime of about ten billion years. Although this period of time is unimaginably long from a human perspective, half of it has already elapsed. That means that our star, a very ordinary one in astronomical terms, will still be radiating the same amount of energy as it now does long after our resources of uranium, coal, gas or crude oil have been used up. How much energy from the Sun reaches us here on Earth?
Dorothee Bürkle
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Dorothee Bürkle
 
 

Which energy source will we use in the future? DLR Energy Blog for ‘Energy’ Science Year

12. January 2010, 09.15
Can we refuel in the future simply using the Sun? How long will the Earth’s oil reserves last? Which energy source will our grandchildren use? Many people are asking scientific researchers about the future of our energy supply. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) has chosen the slogan ‘The Future of Energy’ for Science Year 2010. In the DLR Energy Blog, science journalist Jan Oliver Löfken will answer a question about energy each week during the year.
Dorothee Bürkle
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Dorothee Bürkle