While disciplinary energy research is primarily conducted at the respective institutes, three of the university's research centres, namely the CUTEC Clausthal Environmental Technology Research Centre, the Drilling Simulator Celle (DSC) and the Research Centre for Energy Storage Technologies (EST), contribute to cross-disciplinary research and provide their own specific research infrastructure for this purpose.
In Sustainable Energy Systems, TU Clausthal researchers are looking for answers to the question of how we can ensure a reliable supply of energy on the basis of fluctuating renewable sources. This involves collaboration between professors of materials science, physical technologies, energy-systems engineering, process technology, law, business, and economics.
At the heart of this field are concepts for converting, storing, and then releasing excess green electricity. These include short-term storage of electrical energy to keep the power grid stable as well as conversion into substances like compressed air or hydrogen for long-term storage in underground caverns. The intention is for new business models to make such scenarios attractive to the energy sector, thereby enhancing the security of supply.
Sector coupling to link electricity, heating, transport, and industry has an important role here, e.g. through power-to-gas facilities. Electricity from renewable sources is converted into hydrogen or synthetic gas using electrolysis, stored, transported, and then converted back into electricity. The key aspects include investigating fundamental processes, minimizing conversion loss, ensuring system integration, and assessing economic and environmental impact.