Challenging many academic disciplines, the highly complex issue E-Mobility is at the focus of a number of research groups at the University of Oldenburg, which foster an international dia-logue. For this reason, the research group Cascade Use was involved in organising the international summer school and conference "How efficient is electro mobility" that took place at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg in June 2015.

Whether the focus lies on battery, fuel cell and recycling technologies, energy efficiency, electricity grids and renewable energies or material cycles – research in a multitude of subjects relevant for E-Mobility is long-established at the University of Oldenburg, with the energy research network ENERiO, the research group Cascade Use and the affiliated institutes Offis and Next Energy being especially active in this area. Following their invitation, 50 researchers from all over the world convened at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst for three days in order to discuss the future of E-Mobility. This interdisciplinary workshop was sponsored by the programme International Promovieren in Deutschland – for all (IPID4all) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and by the Stiftung Innovationspool of the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg.

One of the conference’s key subjects was the topic of energy. Sustainable E-Mobility goes beyond just using renewable energies, the participants agreed, and requires smart grids. Demand-Side-Management, i.e. managing the demand of grid-connected services, remains an important field for research.

When considering the entire product life cycle, material flows, recycling and resource efficiency move increasingly into focus. "We urgently need new concepts and technologies", says Pehlken, whose research group deals with the utilisation of resources. "As it remains uncertain which type of battery will prevail in the future, the recycling industry is still hesitating", she explains. For example, the recycling of lithium-ion batteries has not been realised at an industrial scale yet and so far, initial solutions for automated disassembly only exist in laboratories.

Apart from batteries, fuel cell technology remains an important option for E-Mobility. This was demonstrated by contributions from Canada, one of the leading countries in fuel cell research. According to these experts, new recycling technologies – aimed at recovering the platinum contained in fuel cells, amongst other materials – are a prerequisite for the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles. Further promising research on alternative materials for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, which may significantly increase their power range, is conducted at the University of Oldenburg.

E-Mobility is also strongly promoted in China, where the focus lies on so-called New Energy Vehi-cles. These are hybrid vehicles that can be charged over the electricity grid. Since 2014, their share has increased drastically and today, one in 300 vehicles in China is a New Energy Vehicle. For com-parison: In Germany only every 412. vehicle was a hybrid and only every 2343. vehicle a full electric one in early 2015.

The conference was accompanied by a summer school attended by 25 PhD candidates from all over the world. As part of the summer school, the group also visited the Mercedes factory in Bremen and was given an introduction to the integration of electric vehicles in the city of Bremen by Veniox GmbH.


Text: Sabine Nollmann (translated from German by Rikka Wittstock) Source:

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