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The key topic "system" comprises the overall systemic interaction of the areas of resources, energy and material conversion as well as infrastructures, including storage and distribution (networks/grids). In addition to technical and economic criteria, the necessarily interdisciplinary analyses of such systems also focus on social science considerations.
Renewable energy resources
In the course of the energy transition from fossil to renewable energies, the key topic "energy resources" deals with wind, photovoltaics, geothermal energy, geological storage sites and the efficient production of biomass as energy resource.
With the aim of sustainable use of materials, the recycling of materials is at the centre of the key topic "material resources"; in particular biomass, carbon dioxide and water are regarded as resources. In addition, carbon recycling, in particular plastics recycling, and the sustainable supply of inorganic resources are at the centre of attention.
Infrastructure – Networks
For the “Energiewende” to progress, the expansion and restructuring of electricity, heat and gas networks is necessary, which is the core of the key topic "Infrastructure - Networks". Above all, the flexibility and integration of the networks are of particular interest, with security of supply and reliability of critical infrastructures always forming the framework.
Infrastructure – Storage
In the key topic "Infrastructure - Storage", the focus is on batteries, chemical storage and thermal storage as well as their interaction with the other key topics. In addition to offshore wind farms at the coasts of Europe and PV and solar power plants in Southern Europe, small to medium-sized decentralized CHP plants, feed-in from renewable energies and storage facilities will dominate the energy supply in the future. A high proportion of the generation and storage systems will be directly connected to the distribution grid. Energy storage offers a high potential for balancing fluctuating power in the electrical grid by converting electrical energy into hydrogen and/or methane.
Conversion - Supply
Within the key topic "Conversion - Supply", the activities for the provision of different forms of energy and materials - mostly with the focus on electrical and chemical energy - are coordinated and profiled. The main focus is on non-fossil carbon sources, fuel cells, electrolysis, power plant technology and photochemical, solar thermal and electrochemical processes. The conversion of energy to chemicals / materials is also part of this key topic.
Conversion - Consumption
The key topic "Conversion - Consumption" looks at the consumption of energy and materials in the various sectors. In order to link the sectors in a future carbon-neutral energy economy, the energy carrier hydrogen in particular represents a central building block together with the technologies required for its conversion. On the level of electrical networks, direct current technology in particular represents a major future topic.