Cleantech Notes — Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems Thu, 07 Jun 2018 15:31:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fraunhofer CSE to Host German Energy Scorecard Expert for June 12th Residential Scorecard Event Thu, 07 Jun 2018 15:25:12 +0000 Massachusetts’ Baker-Polito Administration recently announced their intention on becoming the first state in the nation to require residential energy scores. The ‘scorecards’ would be made available to potential homebuyers after January 1, 2021 for any 1 to 4 unit homes publicly listed for sale in the state.


Germany implemented a similar law, called the ‘Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV),’ in 2002. In 2007, they updated the law to include language establishing ‘energy performance certificates’ (Energieausweis), which was further strengthened in 2009 and 2013.

Germany, with its commitment to its Energiewende (energy transition) by 2050, remains the most energy efficient country in the world according to a study by American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Fraunhofer CSE is bringing energy scorecard expertise from Germany and Massachusetts stakeholders together for its expert talk and panel session entitled “Driving Energy Efficiency through Residential Scorecards,” taking place on June 12, 2018, from 4:00 to 6:00pm at 5 Channel Center Street in Boston.

The event kicks off with a presentation by Hans Erhorn, Head of the Department of Energy Efficiency and Indoor Climate at Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (Fraunhofer IBP) in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Erhorn worked on the addition of ‘energy performance certificates’ in 2007 to the existing German ‘Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV)’ implemented in 2002. He currently works with the European Union to develop the next generation of Energy Passes (Cards) for residential and commercial buildings.

After the presentation, a panel discussion will follow addressing what major lessons can be learned and applied to Massachusetts; and what challenges and concerns are there at the US city and state level. Panelists will include energy scorecard authorities from the U.S. Department of Energy, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the City of Boston, and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships.

Join the conversation and register to attend today:

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Issue Brief: Fraunhofer CSE Grid Mod Event 4/25/18 Thu, 03 May 2018 13:42:22 +0000 Last week, Fraunhofer CSE was excited to kick off the first event in our new speaker series on grid modernization in Massachusetts, called “International Insights to Meet 2050 Carbon Goals.”

The “Roundtable Speaker Sessions on Grid Modernization in Massachusetts” series comes at a time when state and federal governments around the world, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Federal Republic of Germany, have committed to cutting their carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. This effort, which will entail major changes in energy consumption and efficiency, transportation, building construction, and other fields, will result in a significant transformation in the way society consumes and generates electricity.

The speaker session, which took place on April 25th, featured keynote speakers Katie Theoharides, Assistant Secretary of Climate Change at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), and Professor Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) in Freiburg, Germany, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Bruce Mohl, editor of CommonWealth Magazine.

The event kicked off with opening remarks by Fraunhofer CSE Executive Director Christian Hoepfner, who welcomed keynote speakers and panelists, as well as a special audience member: State Senator Michael Barrett, chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.


The first keynote speech by Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Katie Theoharides focused on Massachusetts’ history of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing innovative technological, policy and renewable energy solutions to combat climate change. Assistant Secretary Theoharides emphasized the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring that Massachusetts achieves its aggressive emission reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 while fostering a thriving economy and protecting residents, businesses, and local communities from the impacts of climate change.

The second keynote speech from Fraunhofer ISE Director Hans-Martin Henning outlined the steps being taken in Germany. Professor Henning noted that while more than one third of the country’s electricity generation is based on renewable energy sources, its primary energy consumption is still by far dominated by fossil energy sources such as gasoline, diesel fuel, coal, and lignite. Therefore, key pillars to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions include energy saving and increased efficiency and a much higher use of electricity in all end-use sectors including building heating and mobility.

Following the keynotes, a lively roundtable panel discussion featured:

  • Patrick Haswell, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs at Veolia North America
  • Penni McLean-Conner, Chief Customer Officer & SVP Customer Care Organization at Eversource Energy
  • Kayte O’Neill, Vice President of Regulatory Strategy at National Grid US
  • Stephen Pike, CEO at Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)

The framing of the 2050 carbon reduction challenge and the examples of pathways presented by Assistant Secretary Theoharides and Professor Henning were a terrific kickoff for the Grid Modernization Roundtable Speaker Sessions. All speakers and panelists provided thoughtful commentary on what has been implemented in the United States and Germany as well as expert advice about what remains to be done as the world prepares for the year 2050 and examples of approaches to grid modernization and the benefits they offer consumers, businesses, utilities, cleantech developers, and other stakeholders. As momentum builds around grid modernization in Massachusetts, Fraunhofer CSE looks forward to continuing these speaker sessions that bring together thought leaders and industry experts.

Fraunhofer CSE’s next Grid Modernization in Massachusetts Roundtable, Residential Energy Efficiency 2.0, will take place in June.


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Fraunhofer CSE To Host Massachusetts Grid Modernization Talks Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:30:47 +0000 This Wednesday, we will kick off the first session of Fraunhofer CSE’s “Grid Modernization in Massachusetts” speaker series. With these talks, Fraunhofer CSE will bring together industry experts, researchers, policy makers, and thought leaders to advance the ongoing discussion around energy innovation. Our first #GridModMA event, scheduled for April 25 at 3:30 pm ET, will focus on “International Insights to Meet 2050 Carbon Goals.”

The speaker series reflects the ongoing work of governments around the world, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Federal Republic of Germany, to fulfill a commitment to cutting carbon emissions in the electric power sector at least 80 percent by 2050. This transformative shift from power generated largely by fossil fuels to an electric grid powered by renewable and sustainable energy resources requires a coordinated effort of private- and public-sector stakeholders. To date, there is no general consensus on the best process for reshaping the way society generates, distributes, consumes, and stores electricity.

The event, which will take place at our location in Boston’s Innovation District at 5 Channel Center, will feature keynote speakers Katie Theoharides, Assistant Secretary of Climate Change for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Prof. Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) in Freiburg, Germany. We are looking forward to thought-provoking talks and an insightful panel discussion moderated by Bruce Mohl, Editor of CommonWealth Magazine, on the pathways that are being considered in Massachusetts and Germany to attain the ambitious 2050 goal. The keynote remarks and the following panel discussion will focus on:

  • What are the pathways to 80 percent carbon reduction?
  • What are the phases of the transition?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges of interaction between the electricity, heat and mobility sectors?
  • What do our efforts for reduction of carbon emissions mean for our economy?

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, but there are only a few days left to register.  Click here for more information about the speaker lineup and to sign up for this free event.

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Issue Brief: NESEA BuildingEnergy Boston Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:15:22 +0000 The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) was pleased to participate in last month’s BuildingEnergy Boston Conference and Trade Show, organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA).

BuildingEnergy Boston is the region’s leading event for professionals and practitioners in the fields of high-performance building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. More than 1,000 industry professionals and emerging leaders attend the event each year to share ideas and experiences while learning more about the latest developments in the sustainable energy sector.

Fraunhofer CSE’s Director of Building Energy Systems Dr. Kurt Roth served on the Content Committee and chaired three sessions at this year’s BuildingEnergy Boston conference:

  • Energy Storage: The Next Frontier: With energy storage playing a significant role in addressing the variability in renewable sources of energy generation, this session provided an introduction to battery technologies, their applications, pros and cons, and highlighted the many ways energy storage is being applied across the spectrum. Even though this session took place at the tail-end of a Nor’easter, it was standing-room only, reflecting practitioners’ strong interest in storage. Featured Kavita Ravi (Director of Emerging Markets of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center), and Steven Strong (President of Solar Design Associates, LLC).
  • Retrocommissioning with the Chiefs: Training Operators to Sustain the Process: Retrocommissioning, the practice of analyzing a building’s current performance and implementing ways to reduce operating costs while maximizing the functionality of building systems, is a complicated and thorough process. This session provided an overview of the process and guidance to commissioning agents and building operations teams on how to collaborate in the shared goal of energy savings. Featured Saverio Grosso, Vice President of Engineering Solutions Edison Energy.
  • Utility Benchmarking 101: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Benefit You: Directed at property managers who seek to impact the immediate and long-term value of their properties, this session provided an overview of how utility benchmarking works and insights as to why it matters. Featured Tabetha McCartney (Director of Asset Management and Sustainability of the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly), David Ruggiero (Technical Specialist of ICF), and Dan Teague (Chief Strategy Officer of WegoWise, Inc.; WegoWise is a former TechBridge Challenge winner).
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Issue Brief: ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit 2018 Mon, 02 Apr 2018 13:47:48 +0000 Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) was pleased to participate in the recent ARPA-E (Advanced Research Products Agency-Energy) Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., with several staff members, and a booth at the technology exhibition.

The event, now in its eighth year, and hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and ARPA-E, showcases the nation’s leading transformational energy technologies with the goal of bringing them to market. It also provides a forum for America’s energy industry community to address challenges and opportunities through invention and collaboration.

Currently, Fraunhofer CSE is working on two ARPA-E Single-Pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Design (SHIELD) projects. Fraunhofer is working with Triton Systems on developing a multilayered coating for manufactured windowpanes that could improve the efficiency of single-pane window units. In another project, Fraunhofer CSE is working with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) to develop an affordable and highly insulating aerogel windowpane technology for retrofit applications. The Summit offered opportunities for CSE’s project lead Dr. Nitin Shukla to discuss commercialization opportunities and possible avenues for future collaboration.

At Fraunhofer CSE’s booth, the SunDial project was showcased; a three-year public-private project to design, develop, and demonstrate an integrated system of solar photovoltaic (PV), energy storage, and facility load management at the utility distribution scale in Massachusetts. The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office with Fraunhofer CSE, National Grid, IPKeys, and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) contributing matching funds, will create a control system that optimally manages facility loads and energy storage charging and discharging to mitigate potential problems due to intermittency and large ramps in PV power generation.

Also on display at the booth were several exciting energy-saving building envelope materials developed with our global academic and industry partners. The display was very well-attended, as there is much interest in the next generation of sustainable, energy efficient thermal insulation materials.

Throughout the 3-day Summit, Fraunhofer CSE’s TechBridge Program Lead, Nick Rancis, was extensively involved in networking and building relationships with international energy incubators and accelerators, startups interested in Fraunhofer CSE’s services, and corporate innovation and venture capital representatives who were interested to learn how the TechBridge Program works.

Lastly, the Summit brought together representatives from other Fraunhofer USA centers, including the Fraunhofer Center for Coatings and Diamond Technologies (CCD) in East Lansing, Michigan and the Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation (CEI) in Storrs, Connecticut.

We thank the U.S. Department of Energy for the opportunity to share our work with the community and engage with innovative thought leaders and experts in our field.

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Issue Brief: Solar Power Northeast 2018 Mon, 26 Feb 2018 15:05:18 +0000

Matt Kromer speaking to a booth visitor about integrating battery storage and PV.

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) was pleased to participate in this month’s Solar Power Northeast conference in Boston. We presented our research, development and demonstration work in photovoltaic modules, grid integration, and energy storage as an event exhibitor, discussing solar and energy storage industry developments and trends with an interested audience.

The event, formerly known as PV America, brought together industry leaders, professionals, manufacturers, and service providers for a robust exploration of emerging technologies, policy initiatives and other market forces. The conference took place at an interesting time in Massachusetts, as the administration of Governor Charlie Baker recently announced that the Commonwealth has installed more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity generation across the state in the past decade.

Fraunhofer CSE has worked closely with leading stakeholders in Massachusetts during the solar sector’s rise, providing technical expertise, R&D, and technology validation services to government organizations, utilities and manufacturers. The Commonwealth ranks among the leaders in U.S. solar employment and newly installed solar capacity, with every community in Massachusetts now operating at least one solar installation. The state also recently launched a new solar incentive program in support of an additional 1,600 MW of future solar capacity.

At the conference, Fraunhofer CSE engaged with industry leaders and key stakeholders regarding CSE’s role in bringing transparency to the solar market, further improving the adoption of residential solar, and addressing electric load management. We interacted with numerous members of the renewable energy community who were eager to learn about our recently-opened Energy Storage Integration Lab and the associated research initiative to develop standardized test protocols for assessing residential storage systems.

The conference also allowed our Grid Integration team and several solar plant developers to discuss the possibility of leveraging Fraunhofer CSE’s Global Scheduler, a flexible open-source software platform that optimally manages various distributed energy resources such as solar PV, energy storage systems, and loads. There was a high level of interest from solar developers for control solutions that effectively integrate storage capacity into energy markets, such as the Global Scheduler.

Solar Power Northeast also allowed our team to strengthen relationships within the Fraunhofer CSE alumni network. Staff reconnected with former CSE fellow Michael Lucini of ISM Solar, a Rhode Island-based developer of solar PV projects, and TechBridge alum Jeff McAuley, now co-founder of Energetic Insurance, a company offering solar insurance solutions for commercial and industrial solar PV projects.

We thank SEIA and SEPA for another successful Solar Power Northeast Conference and Exhibition. We enjoyed sharing our recent research with the community and engaging with partners, clients, and other industry leaders.

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Massachusetts State Reps Visit Fraunhofer CSE’s Living Lab in South Boston Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:04:11 +0000 #bwg_container1_0 #bwg_container2_0 .image_browser_images_conteiner_0 * { -moz-box-sizing: border-box; box-sizing: border-box; } #bwg_container1_0 #bwg_container2_0 .image_browser_images_conteiner_0{ background-color: rgba(245, 245, 245, 0.90); text-align: center; width: 100%; border-style: none; border-width: 2px; border-color: #F7F7F7; padding: 4px; border-radius: 0; position:relative; } #bwg_container1_0 #bwg_container2_0 .image_browser_images_0 { display: inline-block; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0; text-align: center; max-width: 100%; width: 800px; } #bwg_container1_0 #bwg_container2_0 .image_browser_image_buttons_conteiner_0 { text-align: center; } #bwg_container1_0 #bwg_container2_0 .image_browser_image_buttons_0 { display: inline-block; width:100%; } #bwg_container1_0 #bwg_container2_0 .bwg_image_browser_image_0 { background-color: rgba(235, 235, 235, 0.80); 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MA State House Representatives Solomon Goldstein-Rose (first row, 2nd from right) and Jon Hecht (4th from right) look on as Dr. Cordula Schmid explains adhesive mounting of solar modules in our DOE projects Plug & Play PV and PVRD2.

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Last month, Fraunhofer CSE was honored to host Massachusetts State House Representatives Jon Hecht (29th Middlesex District) and Solomon Goldstein-Rose (3rd Hampshire District) as they toured our Living Lab in South Boston.

We were excited to provide Representatives Hecht and Goldstein-Rose with a first-hand look at Fraunhofer CSE's research, development, and demonstration of cleantech and clean energy technologies in Massachusetts. During the visit, Fraunhofer CSE staff and Representatives Goldstein-Rose and Hecht discussed numerous Fraunhofer CSE projects in the Commonwealth, including new bio-based insulating foams, the newly opened Energy Storage Integration Lab, and the SHINES SunDial project. This Fraunhofer CSE-led project with partners National Grid and IPKeys integrates solar photovoltaic (PV), energy storage, and facility load management at the distribution scale in Shirley, MA. The $7 million project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy with $3.5 million, with the remainder coming from the project partners and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

Of the many things demonstrated and discussed at the meeting, most important was Fraunhofer CSE's and the legislators' joint mission to keep Massachusetts at the forefront of energy innovation. Representatives Hecht and Goldstein-Rose expressed sincere interest in Fraunhofer CSE’s investment and contributions to exploring the technologies and commercialization pathways Massachusetts needs to achieve its clean energy and climate goals.

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Consumer Electronics in 2017: Fewer TVs, Less Energy Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:59:43 +0000 The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems has completed a study, “Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2017,” the fourth in a series commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association, to provide up-to-date information to support energy policymaking in a rapidly changing industry.

Consumer electronics – devices like televisions, set-top boxes, and computers – consumed about 143 billion kWh in 2017. Powering these devices now costs consumers $18 billion annually, or $155 per household. While many devices added new features and higher performance, the total energy use of consumer electronics has fallen by about 25% since 2010 and 14% since 2013.

Driving this downward trend, the number of installed devices – those plugged in at least once during the past month – fell by 10% since 2013 to 3.4 billion, about 29 per household. The number of televisions, which now account for 24% of all CE energy consumption, continued to fall, while older CRTs have been mostly retired or replaced by newer, more-efficient LCDs.

A shift toward portable devices, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, contributes to the overall decline. About one quarter of all electronic devices are portable, yet collectively they use less than 5% of the total energy.

Changing system architectures are leading to new energy use patterns. Thin-client set-top boxes, for instance, are becoming more common in multi-TV homes. Integrated access devices that provide Wi-Fi and broadband modem functions in one device are becoming far more common.

Using a bottom-up approach, the study estimates the installed base, typical annual usage, and power draw by mode of nearly 50 device categories, studying a subset in greater depth (TV, set-top box, soundbar, video game console, computer, monitor, network equipment). Phone surveys identified ownership and usage behaviors of televisions, soundbars, computers, and video game consoles.

For the first time in the series, Fraunhofer CSE performed an uncertainty analysis for selected categories to identify knowledge gaps to address in future work.

Download Report: Urban, B., K. Roth, M. Singh, and D. Howes,. (2017). Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2017. Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems Report to the Consumer Technology Association. Dec.

CTA Press Release: In-Home Energy Consumption of Tech Devices Down 25 Percent Since 2010, Says CTA Study

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Fraunhofer CSE Opens Energy Storage Integration Lab Tue, 05 Dec 2017 19:42:52 +0000 Fraunhofer CSE celebrated the inauguration of its Energy Storage Integration Lab on December 5th, 2017. The CEO of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Stephen Pike, joined us to officially “cut the ribbon” to open the ESI lab, which will test novel battery storage, power inverters, electric vehicle (EV) chargers and building energy management systems for residential and light commercial applications.

The ESI Lab emulates a “connected home” with a range of electric devices, including rooftop solar, energy storage, smart loads, and EV charging.  It supports testing of battery systems, grid connections, transfer switches and renewable energy generation inverters, with a focus on evaluating the interoperability and real-world performance and efficiency of the tested devices.

Having the in-house capability for testing future residential energy systems is very important to Fraunhofer’s utility and government partners. This was highlighted by Stephen Pike, prior to the ribbon-cutting, as well as by Carlos Nouel – VP New Energy Systems, National Grid, Penni McLean-Conner – Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Eversource Energy and Dan Burgess – Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Mr. Burgess stated that “Efforts like this are going to transform how we’re using energy and storage.”

Residential energy storage is projected to grow from 1 MW today to 600 MW by 2022, as the installed capacity has doubled over the last 12 months. Although most energy storage products are governed by a well-defined suite of test standards focused on safety, there is no commonly accepted method to characterize the real-world performance of residential energy storage systems. Consequently, potential buyers currently lack a method to understand and compare the differences among competing products and high-quality vendors cannot readily differentiate their real-world product performance relative to lower quality offerings.

Testing at Fraunhofer CSE’s Energy Storage Integration Lab will enable consumers to effectively compare the quality, reliability, safety, and overall value of existing and future energy storage products.

Download the Energy Storage Integration Lab flyer here.

Contact Matt Kromer, Director of Fraunhofer CSE’s Grid Integration Group, or Tsz Yip, Senior Project Engineer, for more information.

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Fraunhofer CSE Hosts Inaugural Meeting of Phase Change Materials Industry Association Mon, 13 Nov 2017 15:34:03 +0000

Representatives of phase change material manufacturers and state and federal officials met for the inaugural meeting of the Phase Change Materials Industry Association of North America in Boston on October 5, 2017.

On October 5th 2017, Fraunhofer CSE hosted the inaugural meeting of the Phase Change Materials Industry Association of North America, whose mission it is to promote the development and use of phase change material in North America. Members of the association approved bylaws, outlined goals, and created committees to develop strategies to pursue the association’s strategic goals. The eight founding members attending the meeting were Phase Change Energy Solutions, Asheboro, NC; Microtek Labs, Dayton, OH; Encapsys LLC, Appleton, WI.; Outlast LLC, Golden, CO; Croda Inc., Edison, NJ; Insolcorp, Las Vegas, NV; Cold Chain Technologies, Franklin, MA; and Entropy Solutions, Plymouth, MI. Also attending were representatives of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office.

Learn more about Fraunhofer CSE’s research on phase change materials:

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