New DFG Priority Programme to Focus on Design of Carnot Batteries

Programme brings together experts from energy system analysis, thermodynamics, heat transfer, numerical optimisation and physical chemistry to develop new approaches for the design and future role of carnot batteries in energy markets.

In March 2022, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG – German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme ‘Carnot Batteries: Inverse Design from Markets to Molecules‘ (SPP 2403). The programme is designed to run for six years and comprises two funding periods of three years each.

This Priority Programme is dedicated to a comprehensive inverse top-down design methodology, which starts with the target variables (market) and ends with the individual components (machines, storages and fluids, ie molecules) and their coupling. The aim is to optimise the design and operation of carnot batteries.

The working hypothesis of the Priority Programme is set out as follows: through a paradigm shift towards an inverse design methodology, it is possible for the first time to test the feasibility of storage efficiencies above 70% and market-compliant storage costs using thermodynamic principles and to assess their compatibility with energy markets’.

To investigate this idea, the programme aims to bring together interdisciplinary teams with experts from the fields of energy system analysis, thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid energy machines, numerical optimisation and physical chemistry.

Proposals are invited from research projects, which show a close connection with at least two of the following research areas:

  1. Carnot batteries in energy markets.
  2. Design of Carnot batteries.
  3. Components for Carnot batteries.

The expected results of the projects should have the potential for enabling upscaling to industrial applications. The models developed during the first phase of the programme should provide the basis for a time-dependent analysis and control of the Carnot battery in the second funding period at the latest.

Examples of suitable research topics include:

  • Inverse energy system optimisation with the required CB parameter combinations as model outputs.
  • Size dependence, partial-load behaviour and fluctuations.
  • Fluid-tailored storage concepts.
  • Flexible fluid energy machines and their behaviour as a function of fluid, load range and pressure ratio.
  • Thermoeconomic analyses and scalability.
  • Thermal storage concepts, materials and configurations.
  • Modelling, optimisation and experimental validation.
  • Carnot battery concepts configurations and modes of operation.
  • Fluid properties of pure substances and zeotropic mixtures with low GWP (thermodynamic and transport properties).
  • Heat exchanger concepts and properties under variable load conditions.

A focus of the research on the Carnot battery (CB) and the inverse design methodology is compulsory.

Eligible to apply are researchers who work in Germany, or at a German research institution abroad, and who have completed their academic training (usually with a doctorate). The participation of researchers based outside Germany is permitted if their project is of added value to the programme at large.

Funding is available for a period of three years and covers project-related costs such as personnel, material and travel costs.

The scheme comprises a multi-stage application process. Initially, interested parties are invited to submit a short outline. Candidates will then be inited to a coordination meeting in September to further develop their ideas and find suitable collaboration partners. After the meeting, candidates may submit their project proposal to DFG.

The deadline for brief project outlines is 10 August 2022.

Full proposals must be submitted to DFG by 17 January 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)