North Rhine-Westphalia is Europe's most important energy region. The state is home to international power utilities, energy-intensive manufacturing companies, power plant producers, as well as a large number of developers, providers and users of energy technology and services. Some 120 institutes at more than 30 universities as well as about 20 non-university research organizations conduct energy-related teaching and research, with special emphasis on increasing energy efficiency and exploiting the potential of renewables. NRW is among the international front-runners with regard to the development, testing and commercialization of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Energy efficiency is high up on the research agenda in North Rhine-Westphalia. For instance, the Helmholtz Institute for Ionics in Energy Storage in Münster is addressing a key issue: how to store electric power in large quantities over long periods within compact dimensions. The institute has decided to concentrate its efforts on electrolytes, the most important component of any battery. North Rhine-Westphalia is also conducting research into smart electric power utilization. For example, the utility company RWE is involved in various projects centering on smart grids, smart meters and integrated home automation.
Category Energy industry
Paderborn in East Westphalia-Lippe is also called the City of Springs. 200 underground springs feed the river Pader, drawing the early settlers and to this day providing a rich supply of groundwater. But that’s not all. Regional power supplier E.ON Westfalen Weser is now working with the city of Paderborn to make use of an innovative form of energy. Groundwater is being used in Paderborn city centre for the eco-friendly cooling and heating of a current total of 15 building complexes. Depending on the time of the year, the temperature of the water ranges between 9 and 13 degrees, making its way to the surface by the springs. Special pumps extract warmth from the water in winter, with the energy they harness being used to heat the buildings. In summer, groundwater is put to use to for cooling them. The hydrogeological conditions intrinsic to Paderborn - an abundance of shallow subsurface groundwater and constant temperature - form the basis for this project.
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