Areas of application

Entwicklung von Hochtemperatur-Batterien.
Development of high-temperature batteries.

Energy storage systems


Fraunhofer IKTS works on cost-effective, decentralized energy storage devices by working with both lithium-ion batteries and their production engineering, as well as batteries that use ceramic sodium solid-state ionic conductors. Metal-air batter­ies and super capacitors represent other focal points. Zeolites, phase change materials and salt storage components are offered for thermal storage. Development issues encompass complete value-added chains for energy storage devices and their production, from the laboratory scale to full-scale indus­trial production.

Brennstoffzellensysteme im Testbetrieb.
Fuel cell systems in test operation mode.

Fuel cells


Power generation using SOFC and MCFC fuel cell systems is in the first phase of market introduction. Current development is concentrated on further reducing production costs, extending fuel cell lifetime, easy-to-use fuels and systems integration. With decades of solid experience, Fraunhofer IKTS is a leading international contact for all of these concerns. The institute‘s capabilities span the entire value-added chain: from detailed knowledge of materials and processes to engineering of core and process components as well as system design to prototyp­ing, test operation and validation. IKTS systems cover a broad spectrum of capacities, from portable devices in the 50 W range to stationary systems on a MW scale. A wide diversity of fuels are used, such as biogas, LPG and hydrogen.

CFY-Stackkomponenten können auch für den Elektrolysebetrieb angepasst werden.
CFY stack components can be adjusted to electrolysis operation.

Electrolysis and power-to-gas


Steam electrolysis and CO2 on a commercial scale is a key technology that makes it possible to use surplus power. For example, it can be converted into storable forms of energy – such as hydrogen for feeding into gas networks, or for recon­version. Alternatively, it can be realized as higher performance power sources by converting it with CO2 through synthesis gas. Fraunhofer IKTS‘s fuel cell stacks are superbly suited for electrolysis operation. In the development of cells, intercon­nectors and joining technologies, the experiences originating from commercial SOFC technology facilitate swift design and material iterations, as well as large modules.

Einbrand von Metallisierungspasten und -tinten.
Firing of metallization pastes and inks.

Photovoltaics and solar thermal systems


The efficiency of solar cells is largely determined by the electri­cal conductivity of metallic collector electrodes. In this area, Fraunhofer IKTS develops pastes and inks for existing and new cell designs. Highly efficient thick-film and direct-writing pro­cesses enable an affordable metallization of the cells. In the area of solar thermal energy, Fraunhofer IKTS is working on receiver materials and high-temperature materials for heat exchangers and heat accumulators. The integration of thermal energy storage devices makes it possible to deliver energy pre­cisely as needed.

Gefügebild eines Faserkomposits für Hochtemperaturturbinen.
Microstructures of a fiber composite used for high-temperature turbines.

High-temperature gas turbines and thermal energy systems


In order to enhance the environmental friendliness, cycle sta­bility and efficiency of hot gas turbines, and to reduce emis­sions, higher process temperatures are necessary, as well as materials with high thermal shock resistance. This makes monolithic ceramics and ceramic matrix composites (CMC) an interesting alternative to metallic materials. In addition, Fraun­hofer IKTS is engaged with the environmental barrier coatings based on oxide and non-oxide ceramic systems. Additional efforts are focused on high-temperature components, such as heating elements, burners, and heat exchangers, for example.

Adaptives Standard-Modul.
Adaptive standard module.

Energy harvesting


To supply energy to decentralized microsystems – such as sen­sors or medical and consumer devices – environmental energy in the form of waste heat and motion can be used. Based on its decades of experience with ceramic active materials (ther­moelectric materials and piezoceramics), Fraunhofer IKTS real­izes so-called energy harvesters, including thermoelectric gen­erators and piezogenerators, for example.

Optimierung von Aufbereitungsprozessen in Biogasanlagen.
Optimizing the preparation processes in biogas plants.



Fraunhofer IKTS delivers a rich diversity of process engineering solutions for bioenergy technologies – such as disintegration, mixing, and agitation processes – in order to facilitate the use of lignocellulose substrates, along with other materials. The treatment of biogas is optimized by using adsorptive and membrane processes for methane enrichment, gas drying, nutrient recycling and process water treatment. One focus lies on the enhanced flexibility of biogas systems used for provid­ing power precisely as it is needed. In addition, the manufac­turing process for bioethanol is improved using membranes in the production process – such as for saccharification, dehy­dration and substrate processing. New kinds of organophilic pervaporation membranes as well as ultrafiltration mem­branes aid in designing the production processes to be effi­cient.

Laboranlage für die Fischer-Tropsch-Synthese.
Laboratory plant for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

Synthetic fuels


In the immediate future and over the medium term, chemical fuels will retain their significance for mobility because of their high energy density. Fraunhofer IKTS is working on technolo­gies and reactor designs so that it can synthesize liquid energy sources derived from alternative raw materials, H2, CO2 and surplus energy. Among its scientific work, it combines water-selective membranes with catalysts inside the membrane reactor or membrane contactor. The staff additionally studies catalyst systems and process engineering designs and systems for the production of fuels and valuable materials, using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis as a primary tool.

Mobiler Versuchs‐ und Korrosionsteststand für Insitu-Untersuchungen.
Mobile test stand for in-situ corrosion tests.

Deep geothermics


In deep geothermics systems, extreme conditions – such as in­tense pressures, high temperatures and excessive saline con­tent – frequently trigger corrosion and encrustation, compro­mising the feasibility and operational safety of these systems. Thanks to its decades of experience with encrustation phe­nomena, and its superior analytic facilities, Fraunhofer IKTS focuses on corrosion-resistant components and systems, as well as process configuration. Using experimental findings and corrosion test results, IKTS is capable of providing real-time monitoring on-site. In conjunction with membrane elec­trolysis processes, this leads to a reduction of toxic substanc­es, which means that system downtime can be considerably lowered while optimizing processes in the areas of fracking and deep geothermics.