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About IMVT

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.

 

 

WHAT IS MICRO PROCESS ENGINEERING                             ADVANTAGES OF MICRO PROCESS ENGINEERING

 

 

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).

 

Website

 

Project partners:

Bildergebnis für kit Bildergebnis für dlr Ähnliches Foto

Funded by:

Bildergebnis für baden württemberg ministerium für wissenschaftBildergebnis für federal ministry for economic affairs and energy

 

 

 

 

The P2X Kopernikus project

 

How can we store renewable energy?

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.

What are the possible solutions?

Examples of possible strategies for the flexible use of electricity generated from volatile renewable sources include:

  • gaseous substances such as hydrogen or methane (Power-to-Gas)

  • liquids such as fuels for mobility (Power-to-Liquid)

  • basic chemicals for the chemical industry (Power-to-Chemicals)

The Power-to-X routes proposed here offer several possibilities; the economic case for their implementation must first however be developed and demonstrated. Furthermore, the Power-to-X approach is of exceptional importance if we are also to deploy renewable wind and solar energy in the mobility and heating sectors, which together account for some 80 % of energy consumption compared to just 20 % of the electricity sector.

The key research topics are:

  • Medium and large-scale electrolysis systems for manufacturing hydrogen from surplus wind and solar electricity, research into materials for high-pressure and high-temperature electrolysis, demonstration projects and optimisation with respect to flexibility, efficiency, throughput and costs, reduction of the use of precious metals; testing under the real-world conditions to be expected operating with large amounts of electricity from renewables.
  • Trialling of various process routes for Power-to-Liquid and Power-to-Chemicals (e.g. methanol, Fischer-Tropsch fuels, higher-order alcohols), development of process designs, pilot and demonstration projects and the comparison of these alternative conversion routes based on their CO2footprints and costs, evaluation of systemic factors including comprehensive cost-benefit analyses.

The “Power-to-X” Kopernikus project: Flexible use of renewable resources 

Power-to-X refers to technologies that convert electricity generated from renewable sources into physical energy stores, energy carriers, and energy-intensive chemical products. Energy from renewable sources can then be used in the form of made-to-measure fuels for motor vehicles or in improved plastics and chemical products with high added-value. With the selected “Power-to-X” (P2X) project a national research platform is currently being constructed within the Kopernikus programme for this complex subject area.

What is the objective of the Kopernikus project?

With Power-to-X technologies, electricity from renewable sources is first converted electro-chemically into physical resources such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide and synthesis gas. These physical resources must then be efficiently stored, distributed and converted into the end-product. To accomplish this requires innovative solutions, which are to be developed within the project into ecologically, economically and socially-beneficial processes. In this way Power-to-X is contributing to the objective of decarbonisation of the energy system, which the Federal Government is striving to achieve through the Energiewende, while at the same time reducing the proportion of fossil resources used in the important key markets of transport and chemicals.

What makes the consortium so attractive?

In total 18 research institutions, 27 industrial companies and three civil-society bodies are participating in the P2X project. New technological developments are to be brought to industrial maturity within ten years. In the first funding phase, the research is focussing on the complete value chain, from electrical energy through to physical energy carriers and products. In the process the project is also drawing on existing large-scale projects and available infrastructures and expanding the interfaces to industry. In addition to the funding from the BMBF, the industrial partners in P2X are contributing research services to the value of another €8.3 million. The RWTH Aachen and the Jülich research centre are already collaborating intensively in this research area within the JARA Energy section of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA). They are coordinating the project jointly with DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V. (Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology).

Contribution to the energy system

The project provides the conditions for the industrial-scale storage of over 90% of renewable energies in physical carriers which will be available for the future, even if this isn’t needed immediately. In this way the project is creating processes for producing chemical feedstocks, gaseous energy carriers and fuels using this electricity from renewable sources. In addition to reducing the load on the supply network, this will make available sustainable processes for manufacturing physical resources that will replace a large proportion of the fossil raw materials. By using CO2 from exhaust gases as raw material, and electricity from renewable sources, these physical resources are completely climate-neutral

 

Official Website of the project