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Posted: Apr 16, 2012
2012 Hannover Messe: Innovations by KIT
(Nanowerk News) At the 2012 Hannover Messe from April 23 to 27, KIT will present innovations relating to energy, mobility, IT, and other topics of relevance to the future. KIT will inform about its algae engineering platform and exhibit a photobioreactor for microalgae. In addition, new laser technologies for the production of lithium-ion batteries, an electronic drawbar for agricultural machines, and an organic computing system for tractors will be presented. Co-exhibitors will be KNMF, EUMINAfab, EnSoC, and KIC InnoEnergy. KIT will also contribute to other stands and special exhibitions.
Main KIT Stand, Hall 2, C18:
Algae as a source of energy. Microalgae act like small power plants: They convert a relatively large fraction of sunlight into chemical energy. Doing this, they take up large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. They can be cultivated in technical systems and, hence, do not require any arable areas and do not compete with food production. Certain microalgae contain high oil fractions or can produce hydrogen from water and sunlight. At KIT, several institutes focus on algae research. The KIT Platform for Algae Engineering covers the complete chain of use of algae as an energy source, from reactor development to solid-liquid separation and cell disintegration by electroporation to accompanying systems analysis. KIT researchers develop novel photobioreactors ensuring optimum use of light for highly efficient conversion of sunlight into biomass. The laboratory photobioreactor displayed is an angular gap reactor of 25 liters volume for the cultivation of microalgae. It is aerated with CO2 and air. The pH value, temperature, and gas supply can be controlled. The reactor is autoclavable.
Algae, a source of energy: KIT will present a photobioreactor for the cultivation of microalgae at the 2012 Hannover Messe., a source of energy: KIT will present a photobioreactor for the cultivation of microalgae at the 2012 Hannover Messe.
Lasers for the production of lithium-ion batteries. Successful implementation of electromobility and stationary energy storage requires high-performance and low-cost batteries based on lithium ions. KIT scientists work on laser technologies, such as cutting, welding, and surface modification, to simplify production processes, stabilize the performance on the cell level, and reduce costs of complete battery systems. By means of a laser technique developed by KIT, electrode surfaces are modified such that a liquid electrolyte is very rapidly and homogeneously transported into the porous battery material during filling. As a result, 80% of the modified electrodes are wetted by the electrolyte after 10 seconds already. Sophisticated processes for enhanced wetting are no longer required. The cells manufactured in this way reach better performance data.
EDA – Electronic Drawbar for Agricultural Machines. Since the early beginnings of agriculture, simultaneous use of several working machines on large agricultural areas has been established to increase productivity. Under the "Electronic Drawbar for Agricultural Machines" (EDA) project, a convoy of tractors was automated partly. Of two tractors equipped with GPS receivers, the manned vehicle takes the lead, while the second unmanned tractor follows fully automatically. The driver of the leading vehicle can define the offset of the unmanned following vehicle in longitudinal and transverse direction, monitor the operation state of the unmanned vehicle, and specify various driving modes of the unmanned vehicle. The driving modes to be chosen are parallel driving, follow-me, ignore-me, and turn around. The software of the electronic drawbar is designed in a modular manner and comprises a communication module, a security module, and a path planning and control module. Based on the research results, a real product has meanwhile been commercialized for premium tractors.
OCOM – Organic Computing in Tractors. Mobile machines become increasingly complex and have to execute robust services under changing impacts. Under the interdisciplinary "Organic Computing in Off-highway Machines" (OCOM) project, KIT researchers develop a flexible overall machine management system tailored to these requirements. It is based on the so-called observer/controller architecture that monitors the tractor system and interferes whenever a given target function, such as fuel consumption or pollutant emission, can be improved. For this purpose, the observer acquires characteristic data about the current state of the system and assigns them to a cluster. This cluster is transmitted to the controller. A mapping function allocates optimum tractor adjustments to every cluster, as a result of which the system behavior is influenced according to the target function given by the user. A history and online evaluation module evaluates the consequences of the adjustments in practice. An adaptation module contains a model-based learning method that determines the potentials of new tractor adjustments in a given system state. This organic overall machine management is planned to be integrated in a real tractor.
KNMF – Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility. At this KIT user facility, representatives of research and industry from all over the world are provided with counseling by leading experts and, if the results are published, cost-free access to a unique portfolio of nano- and microtechnologies. According to the "Open Innovation" concept, KNMF allows for the nano- and microstructurization as well as for the characterization of a number of functional materials.
EUMINAfab. The "European Infrastructure for Micro- and Nano Fabrication and Characterization" EUMINAfab grants users from Europe and associated states free access to the latest micro- and nanoprocessing technologies at twelve partner institutions. Thanks to the combination of scientific expertise and technical equipment, EUMINAfab offers innovative solutions for micro- and nanoprocessing, functional structures, and components of materials of all types.
Energy Solution Center (EnSoC). The Energy Solution Center supports application-oriented energy research in the field of high-performance computing. Funded by KIT and several partners from industry, EnSoC represents a high-performance network bundling competences in energy economy, energy technology, IT, and solution methods. An example of a current EnSoC project, smart charge management for electric vehicles in tomorrow's electricity grid, will be presented.
KIC InnoEnergy. The KIC InnoEnergy European consortium is establishing a sustainable, safe, and carbon-minimized energy supply system in Europe. The network is aimed at closing the innovation gap and strengthening Europe's innovative capacity. KIC InnoEnergy is a network of 28 top companies, universities, research institutions, and business schools. Their close networking is planned to result in a more rapid development and commercialization of new energy products. Entrepreneurs will find professional support on the InnoEnergy HighwayTM. The European incubator focuses on sustainable energy and is characterized by a holistic approach.