Reference examples

New artificial diesel fuel

Development of an innovative method of using renewable energy to generate fuels (gasoline, diesel, kerosene, methanol, methane) from CO2 and H2O with an expected energetic efficiency factor of around 70 percent, by means of very efficient high-temperature water vapor electrolysis.

Hydrogen as a fuel

The use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel in individual and passenger transportation is being investigated in various research projects. The research is concentrating both on the analysis of production methods and the hydrogen infrastructure, and on the assessment of hydrogen use in specific mobility concepts. The subjects of analysis range from the Life Cycle Assessment of fuels, drive and vehicle concepts, up to data monitoring in fleet projects.

Alternative drive and vehicle concepts

One topic covered by Fraunhofer System Research for Electromobility (FSEM) was the potential environmental impact of the life cycle of electric vehicle concepts – from material production, the drive components and vehicles, vehicle use, up to end-of-life recovery and disposal. The investigations focused on purely battery-powered vehicle concepts and on two hybrid vehicle concepts: the plug-in hybrid and the range extender. Scenarios were used in determining future development trends for the ecological profile of the vehicles. A comparison with conventional variants powered by an internal combustion engine yielded the necessary framework conditions for ecologically advantageous use of the electric vehicle concepts. More information

Everyday suitability and ecological use

In various projects (e.g. RheinMobil) and accompanying research activities (e.g. Praxperform E and HyTEC) the potential environmental impact of electric vehicle concepts (battery, fuel cell, hybrid variants etc.) are examined in specific fields of application (private and commercial transportation, delivery operations, commuting, use in vehicle fleets, car-sharing, public transport etc.). On basis of the real vehicle use data acquired (charging behavior, vehicle energy consumption, daily mileage, and routes covered between charging stations) significant statements can be made regarding the everyday suitability of vehicle and drive concepts under consideration of the specific framework conditions and requirements of the fields of application. The findings provide an important basis for optimizing vehicle fleets and appropriately combining available transport media into intelligent mobility concepts. More information on Praxperform E.

Life Cycle Assessment of complex products and product groups

Life Cycle Assessments provide important information for environmentally compatible product development. Particularly the Life Cycle Assessment of complex products such as electronic goods or vehicles, which are composed of various different materials and consist of several thousand individual components, presents manufacturers with the challenge of identifying and processing the relevant data and consistently incorporating them into a Life Cycle Assessment model. The Life Cycle Engineering Department assists companies in the methodical execution and implementation of Life Cycle Assessments as a supportive tool in product development – from data acquisition, through model construction, up to results and interpretation. Parametrized, generic system models allow design modifications or ongoing product developments to be analyzed with an acceptable expenditure of time and effort already at the conceptual phase, thus identifying and eliminating potential weak points. The generic modeling approach also makes it possible to depict various different products of a product group by means of a Life Cycle Assessment model, without the need for qualitative compromises in the results or in the degree of detail. Comparable projects have been carried out for example in the course of product certification for industrial trucks of the company Linde Material Handling. More information

Energy self-sufficiency

The scientists from the department are also carrying out an environmental assessment of complex energy supply and usage concepts. The system analysis provides important background information for policymakers in relation to the optimal configuration of energy grids and the choice of suitable energy generation and storage technologies, while taking into consideration the specific framework conditions for the cases under examination. Strategic optimization measures can be derived on this basis; for example, the optimum degree of self-sufficiency for energy grids can be determined from an ecological viewpoint.

Life cycle analysis of various thin-film photovoltaic technologies  

In various projects, the entire life cycle has been analyzed – from the provision of raw materials, detailed process chain analysis of module production, and utilization and recovery scenarios – and the potential ecological added value of regenerative electricity generation examined in comparison with today’s power generation technologies and systems. The projects were also concerned with identifying optimization measures in production and utilization, and investigated specific recycling concepts. Furthermore, the availability and material flows of the semiconductor materials used were determined in the course of material flow analyses.

Resource-optimized product design from a entire perspective

The long-term paradigm shift to production with “maximum value creation from minimal use of resources” is the overriding approach for the Fraunhofer lighthouse project E³ in production technology. The aim is to fulfill the requirements of an E³ factory – energy- and resource-efficient production, the emissions-neutral factory, incorporation of human operators into production – in the manufacturing industry. To this end, in an integrated analysis of production, the factory, and the human it is necessary to investigate how material, energy, and information flows can be interconnected, planned, and controlled as resource-efficiently as possible. The calls for appropriate planning and forecasting tools. The integration project »I2 – Resource-optimized Product Design,« which is embedded in the Fraunhofer lighthouse project E³ Production, provides the necessary competencies in the field of resource- and energy-efficient production. The objective is the development of an assistance system that points out the effects of decisions in the generation of a product on its resource efficiency over its entire life cycle, and facilitates assessment of potential solutions. Additional expense in product development is to be avoided by interlinking design (CAD), product data management (PDM), and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). More information