The IMVT is located on Campus North of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology at building 605 and the adjacent building 606.
Development of microstructured devices at IMVT is based on the skills of producing nozzles of smallest deflection radii of up to 30 µm by machining with ground, shaped diamonds. These so-called separation nozzles were used for the enrichment of fissile uranium from isotope mixtures. In the late eighties, the mechanical microstructurization technique was used for the first time by the former Institute for Nuclear Process Technology of Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe to produce microstructured heat exchangers and reactors (Schubert et al., DE 37 09 278 A1, 1988). In the nineties, development of microstructured devices for process engineering was furthered consistently and eventually resulted in the foundation of IMVT as an independent institute in 2001.
At the moment, over 60 persons from six different countries are working at IMVT.
Research Focus: Power-to-Molecules (PtM)
The energy supply in Germany (and Europe) in the near future will be increasingly dominated by electrical energy. This is due to the fact, that systems as e.g., renewable power systems, are able to generate CO2-free electrical power.
Nonetheless, this energy transition poses new challenges to our existing market, for example:
Guarantee power grid stability with considerably less rotating masses
Bridge energy shortages in case of fluctuating production since wind and solar power are seasonal generators
Effective storage and transport of local surplus energy considering an increasing decentralization
Provisioning transition technologies for the successful acceleration of the German “Energiewende” (energy transition)
Establish a flexible, smart and dynamic control system for all the information and material flows
Sector coupling of multiple producers and consumers in a future Power-to-X grid
Current technology is capable of tackling those challenges, but trial projects are still required in order to connect the present expertise and process steps to drive the energy transition towards success. Furthermore, decentralization will play a very important role in this transition, for which flexible and sizable approaches are required. For instance, traditional reactor concepts might not fit appropriately future scenarios. The recognition of such issues and the attempt to undertake them has therefore provided massive funding through strong national projects.
Given the essential advantages micro-structures possess in many applications, the demand for such technology has increased in recent research topics. To comply with that demand, a certain number of projects and workgroups within the institute focus on the research of Power-to-Molecules. The development, testing, and improvement of a broad variety of practical applications is our primary goal, including the synthesis of renewable fuels as long-term energy storage (Fischer-Tropsch products, DME, methanol), micro separation techniques, and buffer storage solutions like LOHCs. The collaboration with strong industrial partners, as well as other research facilities plays also a fundamental role in these works.
In general, our field of research focuses on the production and testing of highly active catalyst systems to chemical reactions and the catalytic synthesis itself, to the development of novel reactor concepts and their manufacturing, the development of downstresm separation methods and innovative analysis concepts.
To find more about the different research topics, please consult our portfolio here.
Energy Lab 2.0
In Germany, the “Energiewende” (energy transition) is designed to make the energy supply more sustainable for the environment and climate.
Alongside increasing the share of renewable energy sources, the energy supply also has to remain affordable and reliable. Wind and solar energy do not supply a constant amount of energy at all times of the day or year, and often not in the location where the energy is needed. This mismatch between generation and consumption of renewable energies requires new concepts for energy transport, distribution, storage and utilisation.
These concepts are being investigated by the Helmholtz Centres Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) using a new large-scale research infrastructure - the Energy Lab 2.0.
Energy Lab 2.0 is both a real-life experimental facility and a simulation platform, enabling the partners to investigate the interplay of components in the smart, connected energy system of the future. This will see the development of new grid architectures, the integration of widely varying storage technologies, new grid hardware and strategies for monitoring and control, as well as the interlinkage of electricity, heat and chemical energy carriers; all of which contribute to ensuring the success of the energy transition.
The Energy Lab 2.0 is funded by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg as well as the Federal Ministries of Education and Research (BMBF), and Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
The P2X Kopernikus project
The constantly increasing proportion of electricity supply that’s accounted for by renewable energies already means that in high winds and on sunny days, large amounts of power are being produced this way. In a few years‘ time, in the middle of a windy summer’s day, Germany’s entire energy needs will be met by electricity generated from wind and photovoltaics. On such days however, the increasing expansion of renewable energies will produce more electricity than is actually needed at the time. Since there aren’t enough options for storing this electricity at the moment, and this situation seems unlikely to change quickly enough, we’ll have to find other ways.
The more flexible our usage is, the more efficient the overall energy system will be. This is the only way we can guarantee a secure, affordable and environmentally friendly energy supply into the future.