26 professors as members and over 300 doctoral students and scientists of the Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) are joined together in the interdisciplinary “Leibniz Research Centre Energy 2050“(LiFE 2050) – the energy research node of the Leibniz University Hannover – whereby the Institute for Solar Energy Research (ISFH) as associated institute of the LUH is also incorporated. A board of directors with six members with one elected spokesperson coordinates the tasks. LiFE 2050 runs the office that supports the processes of acquiring joint projects, of interdisciplinary interlinking and of carrying out projects through services and tools. In addition, the office is responsible for the marketing of the research centre.
The objective of LiFE 2050 is to deliver research contributions for a sustainable, financeable and reliable energy system. This energy system must also be environmentally friendly and must reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The focus will be on the transformation process from a system with large conventional energy production plants to a system with many small decentralised production plants on the basis of renewable energies. LiFE 2050 is based on high-performance research lines in the engineering and natural sciences area (see image alongside). These are complemented by cross-cutting topics of economics, law and environmental planning.
Research in wind energy addresses the complete wind energy plant and stretches from the establishment, the wave loads (offshore), the bearing structures and their materials to aeroelastics, rotor blades, gears, bearings and generators and to power-electronic energy conversion and integration into the power grid, as well as their economic feasibility and financing, with the research group receiving the area of FORWIND Hannover. The testing centre for bearing structures, the generator converter laboratory, the large wave channel and other large apparatuses provide an excellent infrastructure.
The focus areas of solar energy research are crystalline silicon photovoltaics, low-temperature solar thermal energy and the development of decentralised solar energy supply systems for electricity and heat. The interaction of solar and non-solar components such as storage and heat pumps is of particular importance. These topics are explored by ISFH together with institutes of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics. The experimental plants of the ISFH as well as the LNQE (Laboratory for Nano and Quantum Engineering) provide comprehensive experimental opportunities for this area of research.
Research on thermal power plants with the main objectives of increasing flexibility and efficiency is carried out by the institutes for thermodynamics, technical combustion, turbomachinery, power plant systems, material science, dynamics and vibrations, electrical machinery and business informatics. A new research construction “Dynamics of energy conversion“ and the related large apparatuses were successfully acquired and will probably be put into operation in 2019.
The electrical supply grid is investigated by five disciplines of electrical engineering, complemented by economic sciences and environmental planning. The main research objective is to ensure the stability of the electricity grid in spite of the continuously growing share of renewable energies and decentralisation. The professorships for electricity grids, power electronics, electrical energy storage etc. contribute to this.
In electromobility research work is concentrated on the drivetrain (electrical and hybrid), including gear, on integration into the electricity grid and on car-sharing and urban logistics. These research activities are largely integrated into the NFF.