Cooling networks

Ice storage systems like this one at the Center for Optics and Photonics on the Adlerhof campus in Berlin, serve as storage units in modern efficient cooling networks.
© Hanßke/ ZPO
Ice storage systems like this one at the Center for Optics and Photonics on the Adlerhof campus in Berlin, serve as storage units in modern efficient cooling networks.

Cooling processes surround us in many places in our daily lives, such as air conditioning in the office, the refrigerated counter in the supermarket, or process cooling in commercial or industrial networks. However, generating and distributing cold costs significant amounts of energy. As part of the energy transition, scientists at Fraunhofer IEG want to make these processes as efficient and sustainable as possible.

To this end, they are developing technologies and intelligent concepts:

  • As a substitute for current refrigerants that are harmful to health and the climate, natural refrigerants such as water and carbon dioxide are the focus of their research.
  • In order to integrate environmental cooling - of the night and the winter - they are developing suitable storage options, for example in the geological subsurface, be it natural or already mined.
  • In flexible and reliable operating strategies, they consider short-term storage, generation units and synergistic coupling with other energy media such as heat and electricity.

For the complex development environment, the researchers combine competencies from basic thermodynamic research with process engineering practice. They provide comprehensive advice on grid infrastructures, analyze the potential and feasibility of new technologies, and support the implementation of innovative supply concepts. Their project partners and customers are current and future operators of cooling networks, such as hospitals, industry, business parks and property developers, but also associations and representatives of the relevant supply industry.