SPP 2403: Carnot Batteries: Inverse Design from Markets to Molecules

Type of Funding: DFG Programmes, Priority Programmes

The affordable, site-independent, and resource-saving storage of electrical energy in the societally relevant order of magnitude of gigawatt hours (GWh) is the central unsolved problem in the transition to fluctuating renewable energy sources. One possible solution could be represented by the Carnot battery-technology, whereby electrical energy is converted into heat by means of high-temperature heat pumps, heat being stored in cheap materials as internal energy and then converted back into electrical energy when required, e.g. by means of steam turbines. The underlying thermodynamic principle has been known for a long time, however, there are still no general methods for designing or analysing Carnot batteries based on their fundamentals and objectives. Carnot batteries are complex, coupled, time-varying systems with a large number of components and degrees of freedom. Published efficiencies and costs are poorly verified or apply only to specific systems; the integration into future energy markets is unexplored. The intrinsically new approach proposed by the SPP is a comprehensive inverse top-down design methodology, starting from the target variables (market) all the way down to the individual components (machines, storages and fluids, i.e. molecules) and their coupling, aiming at their optimal design and operation.

Project Website

Contact Person at UA Ruhr:
Prof. Dr. Burak Atakan, University of Duisburg-Essen

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