Fraunhofer develops alternative to power-hungry grid devices

More is needed than a switch to renewable energies, the society explained at its annual press conference in munich.

What happens in the conversion of alternating current to direct current in households and offices is extremely uneconomical, said lothar frey, director of the fraunhofer institute for integrated systems and device technology IISB.

Almost every electrical appliance, from computers and televisions to fluorescent lamps, has its own power supply unit that generates the required direct voltage from the 230 volts alternating voltage. The power supplies are "wound in china by skilled hands, but they run at 40 or 50 percent efficiency". A large part of the electricity is converted into useless heat. "This is a gigantic waste."

It would make more sense to first ensure a centralized DC voltage in the building. Then an efficiency of 95 percent would be possible. There is demand for this, especially from commercial and industrial customers.

According to fraunhofer president reimund neugebauer, the cost of wind and solar power will fall below that of fossil fuels by 2030 at the latest. Until then, politicians must prevent the local economy from suffering any disadvantages.

The president of the fraunhofer-gesellschaft, reimund neugebauer, said of the 2013 balance sheet that the total budget had increased by four percent and for the first time exceeded two billion euros. Orders from the private sector reached a new high of around 580 million euros. This underlines the growing importance of fraunhofer for the industry.

The number of employees increased by five percent to around 23,200. A limit to growth, however, was set by the basic financing from public funds, which amounted to 28 percent, said CFO alfred gossner. 72 percent of the budget came from revenues from public and private sector projects.

The fraunhofer-gesellschaft has 67 research institutes in germany and, according to its own information, is the largest organization for applied research in europe.