The success of the energy transition is an important factor for Germany's competitiveness as an industrial nation. By 2050, 80 percent of electricity shall be generated from renewable sources. This means that our energy supply system must be adapted to meet these new challenges. This will require not only secure network operation and reliable electricity supply, but also safe storage of excess energy.
Safe and efficient production of green electricity
Offshore wind turbines are an important strategic component of the energy transition. Their high load factor means that they operate more efficiently than wind turbines on land. They shall supply up to 15,000 megawatts of electricity from 2030. It is essential to minimize the maintenance and repair costs of the turbines in order to ensure their economical operation.
BAM is involved in the safety-related consideration of construction methods and operation of wind turbines. There are a range of challenges concerning the material and monitoring it for damage, particularly in relation to the extremely high stress cycles and the corrosive stress of weather effects and salt water. This affects the rotor blades, for example, but also the whole bearing structure, the motor, and the turbines' geotechnical foundations. BAM scientists are working on innovative methods such as thermography, which will reduce the costs for maintenance and repair requirements.
Safe storage of electricity from the sun and wind
A further challenge of the energy transition is presented by the need to store electricity generated by renewable sources until it is needed. To assist with this, BAM is testing the safe deployment of new methods such as power to gas, in which the natural gas network is used for storage. A team of BAM scientists is currently researching the conditions under which this is possible.
Safe transport of hydrogen as an energy source also plays an important part. Special pressurised gas containers are envisaged for this, which must satisfy the most stringent safety requirements. BAM is researching testing methods, which can be used to exactly predict the lifespan of such composite hydrogen storage. The organizations' goal is to set high standards for safety in technology and chemistry.