Research project profiles

RAISING THE LEVEL OF HOUSES IN FLOOD-PRONE AREAS, TAKING AS AN EXAMPLE THE VILLAGE OF BROCKWITZ ON THE BANKS OF THE ELBE

As a result of climate change, severe flooding events are now an ever more frequent occurrence in Germany. In order to provide protection against the damage caused by rising water levels, dikes have been erected for centuries. In urban areas, the high cost of construction, the large amount of space required and the fact that constructing a dike does not always meet with public acceptance, mean that the use of dikes is frequently impossible. One of the preferred alternatives takes the form of a substitute consisting of a static, freestanding sheet piling. While these pilings require less space, they are often incompatible with the town/communal, open space, and landscape planning requirements or with the protection of historical buildings and monuments in urban areas. This was the case in the village of Brockwitz, which in the last few years alone suffered severe flooding on three separate occasions when the river Elbe reached exceptionally high water levels. Constructing a high-water protection system was also questionable due to commercial and ecological factors. Apart from the vastness of the surrounding landscape, only part of the village was directly affected by the floods. The project “Raising the level of houses in flood-prone areas, taking as an example the village of Brockwitz on the banks of the Elbe” will therefore examine the implementation of a process to raise the level of individual houses or groups of houses situated in the flood-prone area.

ENERGY HARVESTING IN RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS – PRE-DEVELOPMENT OF A NANO-CHP UNIT

In Germany, electricity is generated by a relatively small number of large power stations. One of the important features of the energy transition, however, is that conventional means of generating electricity should be replaced by a large number of smaller generating units. A well-known example of that type of unit takes the form of photo-voltaic systems. Nano-CHP units, which operate on the principle of combined heat and power, are less well known. Operating as a central heating unit in residential properties, these units also generate electricity, as well as heat. The high cost of acquisition, however, means that the cost of the electricity generated is greater than that of the electricity obtained from an energy supplier. The objective of the “Energy Harvesting in Residential Buildings – Preliminary Development of a Nano-CHP Unit” research project is to examine the economic benefits of a nano-CHP unit based on thermoelectric generators (TEGs) compared to systems available on the market to date.

BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING FOR ENERGY-OPTIMIZED BUILDINGS

Digitalization has fundamentally changed a large number of industries. In order to increase value creation, work production, and quality in the construction industry, it is necessary to digitalize the planning, construction, and operation of buildings in this industry, as well. This digitalization is encapsulated by the term Building Information Modelling (BIM). For many areas of the construction industry, however, working with BIM-based methods is new and presents a great challenge for SMEs in particular. In a cooperative preparatory research project, Building Information Modelling will be refined and tested for energy-optimized buildings.

LOAD AND ELECTRICITY STORAGE MANAGEMENT IN CELLULAR ENERGY SYSTEMS

Renewable energies are playing an ever-increasing role in the supply of electricity and energy supply. Solar electricity generated by PV systems is especially susceptible to severe fluctuations due to changes in the weather. The load placed on our distribution networks also increases in line with the typical load profiles of cooling and heat pumps used to provide heat. The networks are required to provide precisely the amount of electricity that is being consumed. To make this possible, either the electricity-generating system or the demand will need to be managed. From a commercial point of view, managing the demand (load management) is a more sensible approach. The load and energy management systems currently in use already include a facility for real-time data sharing between the components of a system (battery, inverters, and switching devices). Individual systems are also able to communicate with energy systems, such as photovoltaic systems and wind turbines, as well as with other electricity-generating systems. One of the aims of the project is to develop a model-predictive control that makes it possible for additional information to be taken into account for the purpose of load and energy management.

RESEARCH TOPIC: ENERGY-EFFICIENT BUILDINGS

An essential measure in confronting climate change and its consequences is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. As far as buildings are concerned, this can be achieved by increasing the energy efficiency of systems and reducing the building’s energy requirements. Over one third of the energy ultimately consumed is used in building operation alone, which means that improving the energy efficiency of buildings and facility technology represents an important pillar of the energy transition. Until now, however, there have been no sustainable and cost-effective system-based approaches to guarantee an efficient energy supply and sustainable building operation. At the Energie Campus Nürnberg (EnCN) at Nuremberg Tech, an interdisciplinary research team is working jointly on system solutions for the construction and operation of energy-efficient buildings. The team brings together expertise from the areas of facility technology, electrical engineering, construction physics and materials engineering. The research develops components, methods, processes and materials for energetically cost-optimized buildings and building systems. The research topic of energy-efficient buildings aims to develop and consolidate such solutions in the future.

DEVELOPMENT OF A HIGHLY PREFABRICATED MULTI-FUNCTIONAL FACADE ELEMENT

Around one quarter of all energy in Germany is consumed in private households and most of that is used for the heating of living spaces. To help realize the energy transition, it is therefore necessary to enhance the energy efficiency of our buildings and increase the uptake of renewable energy. As the finishing touch to all buildings, the façade fulfils a whole host of functions. Not only does it protect the building from the weather, it also provides heat and sound insulation and therefore fulfils an important prerequisite for creating a pleasant indoor climate. The joint project entitled “Fassade³” (Façade³) is therefore in the process of developing a modular, prefabricated façade element that combines multiple functions.

DEVELOPMENT OF AN INNOVATIVE MOBILE PROCESSING PLANT FOR DRILLING FLUIDS FROM HORIZONTAL FLUSH DRILLING

Trenchless pipe installation in a controlled horizontal flush drilling process has been used for many years to lay pipelines for the supply of gas, water, electricity, and data. In contrast to conventional civil engineering, in which pipe trenches are created, horizontal flush drilling generates significantly lower surpluses of displaced ground material. This results in extensive financial and environmental advantages. To cool the drilling head and stabilize the drilling channel, a so-called drilling fluid is pumped through the drilling channel. It consists chiefly of water, bentonite (fine-grained clay material) and additives. In addition, the rinsing absorbs the ground material and transports it away from the drilling area. During a drilling procedure, the drilling fluid is subjected to a multiple recycling process. With increasing use, the drilling fluid loses its drilling properties and must ultimately be disposed of. Up to now, the used drilling fluid has been disposed of in agricultural areas or landfills. However, the growth of the horizontal drilling sector and changes to legislation, such as in Lower Saxony, are now making disposal increasingly expensive and difficult. Possible pollution by the drilling fluid is also increasingly coming to the forefront of political discussion. According to the current state of technology, no suitable processes for proper separation of the solid and liquid phases of the drilling fluids are available.

MODELLING OPTIMIZATION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS FOR URBAN SUSTAINABILITY  

With the increasing demand for more energy efficient buildings, the construction and energy service industries are faced with new challenges. Buildings are often not able to uphold the energy performance and savings predicted by the selected and applied energy efficiency measures. This so called “performance gap” is attributed to a variety of factors. For one, the predictions tend to be unrealistically low whilst actual energy performance is usually unexpectedly high. Current modelling techniques are unable to represent realistic use and operation of buildings. Even the most detailed modelling and simulation programs still contain many simplifying assumptions, which lead to gaps between predicted and real consumption. The current simulation tools do not accurately incorporate the impact of occupant behaviour on the energy performance of buildings. Therefore, MOEEBIUS introduces a holistic energy performance optimization framework that enhances current modelling approaches for passive and active building elements and delivers innovative simulation tools.

GENERAL RENOVATION AND CONVERSION OF THE LUITPOLDHAUS FOR NUREMBERG’S MUNICIPAL LIBRARY – MONITORING AND SCIENTIFIC GUIDANCE

The Luitpoldhaus in the heart of Nuremberg’s old town was built in 1911 and has housed the new Central Library since 2012. After extensive destruction in the 1950s, the rebuilt Luitpoldhaus was completely renovated, converted, and extended in 2007 for the purpose of centralizing the Public Library, the music library, and the library containing valuable historic stock and special collections. In the project “General renovation and conversion of the Luitpoldhaus for the Nuremberg Public Library – monitoring and scientific guidance”, which was sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), in the context of the complete renovation, Nuremberg Tech’s Institute for Energy and Building (ieg) developed a data collection concept for measurement data visualization which achieves significant savings in terms of heat and electricity consumption and can also be transferred to other national and international energy concepts. The scientific guidance revealed potential for optimization.

MONITORING THE FACADE, THE THERMAL ROOM COMFORT AND THE SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY USING OPERATION OPTIMIZATION

The buildings sector is responsible for around one quarter of the total quantity of energy consumption in Germany and the majority of that is used to provide heat in private residential buildings. In order to implement the objectives of the energy transition, the façade, the facility technology, and the system technology must be optimized for energy efficiency and must be coordinated with one another. As part of the “Herzo Base” project, a complex of terraced houses was constructed that is exclusively made up of houses that operate as energy stores. In the sub-project entitled “Herzo Opt”, the complex of terraced houses will continue to be monitored by scientists for a period of three years, in order to optimize their operation even further.