Over 1000 participants at the first EST conference and public lecture / Daimler-Chef Zetsche: “The car of the future is emission free and driverless”

Successful premiere for the conference Energy, Science, Technology (EST) 2015, the large energy congress for science and technology (20 to 22 May): for three days, 600 participants from the energy sector compared notes on the topics of renewable energies, energy efficiency and systems, storage and networks, in the Karlsruhe congress centre.

Daimler boss Dr. Dieter Zetsche Foto: KMK / Jürgen Rösner

A highlight of the event: at a public lecture in the packed Weinbrenner-Saal, Daimler boss Dr. Dieter Zetsche spoke about the autonomous driving of the future, in front of 800 listeners.

Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress-GmbH as the host, received support from a total of six partners: DECHEMA – Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie [Society for chemical technology and biotechnology], DGM – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde [German Society for Materials Science], E-MRS – European Materials Research Society, EPS – European Physical Society, EuCheMS – European Association for Chemical and Molecular Science and the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) [Karlsruhe Institute of Technology] as co-hosts.

Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress-GmbH (KMK): “Ideas connect – the basic idea of our company also crucially characterised the concept of the EST conference. An event which is unique in this form until now. The topic of energy was viewed from an interdisciplinary point of view here. Both scientists and researchers and engineers and entrepreneurs spoke. A successful contribution by the KMK to the 300 year city birthday of Karlsruhe. For three days, we made the city the world focus for energy research. I am very pleased with the positive reaction to the first EST.”

Professor Holger Hanselka, President of the KIT and overall chairman of EST: “Here, energy was considered in a broad sense, to comply with the social challenges worldwide, and to discover practicable solutions. And at the EST, various disciplines such as materials research and information technology were able to be integrated into the energy discussion.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Detlef Löhe, Vice President for research and information of the KIT: “The KIT Centre for Energy, partner of EST 2015, is one of the largest energy research centres in Europe. Here - due to the inclusion of technical and scientific, but also economic, spiritual, social and legal competences - a holistic view of the energy cycle was possible, especially including social aspects. From the point of view of the KIT; the system concept including the networks and storage required for this is the key to success. Therefore, the KIT specialises in renewable energies, energy efficiency and energy systems, storage and networks.”

Dr. Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Karlsruhe: “When considering the 300 year history of Karlsruhe, we became aware that one of the biggest strengths of Karlsruhe, has always been that it was not trapped in tradition, but rather has always benefited from the fact that people from all the world came to this region with new ideas, and further developed new ideas here.“ As examples, Mentrup mentioned the automobile inventor Carl Benz, and Heinrich Hertz who discovered electromagnetic waves amongst others.

The Federal Minister for the Economy and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, took on the patronage for the conference. The congress covered practically all topics of the energy research programme, elaborated Dr. Georg Menzen, head of division in the division for energy research of BMWi, on behalf of the Federal Minister Gabriel. From the current federal report on energy research it is clear that the Federal Government spent €819 million last year, for research into modern energy technologies. This has more than doubled since 2006. Further increases have been announced.

The congress impresses with over 180 lectures from top executives from research and science

There were over 180 lectures by top executives from research and science on the programme. The quality of the conference impressed the participants: around 90% are very satisfied with their visit. The topic of systems, storage & networks awakened the most interest (66% were interested in it), followed by renewable energies (60%) and energy efficiency (37%).

Apart from the presentations in individual sessions, three large plenary lectures focussed on the topic of energy from various perspectives: (Dr. Jean-Francois Minster Senior Vice President at TOTAL, Title: “Technological drivers of the energy mix transformation“) and Bernard Salha (Director of research and development, EDF): ”A key way to develop innovative solutions is to bring together academics, start-ups, SME and utilities. In Germany, EIFER is a prime example of such a successful collaboration. Since 2001, this joint research centre of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and EDF has proven the excellence of Franco-German cooperation to prepare future energy systems”, spoke about innovations from the area of the economy.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bruckner (Director of the IIRM, University of Leipzig, Head of Department at Fraunhofer MOEZ and coordinating lead author in the IPCC) looked at the possibilities of global climate protection: “If people want to keep their self set goal – to limit the change in the average global temperature to 2° - then quick action is necessary. The necessary technologies are available. There is a significant need for research into increasing their efficiency, and with regards to the required reduction in costs of use.”

Public lecture by Daimler chairman Zetsche on the future of the automobile

The EST conference – not just an event for experts: on Karlsruhe’s 300th city birthday, the two hosts KMK and KIT were able to get the chairman of the board of Daimler AG, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, for a public lecture. With the title “new energy: the second invention of the automobile”, Zetsche spoke in front of 800 listeners, in the packed Weinbrenner-Saal. Here are some original quotes from his speech:

“Highly efficient combustion engines will still make a significant contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the long term. And they earn the money which we use to develop alternative drives.”

“Even if I can’t predict a concrete day X, I can promise one thing: we are playing our part in driving without emissions happening earlier rather than later.”

“The German economy has invested around €17 billion into the further development of e-mobility in the past four years. 17 series models from German car manufacturers had already been introduced by the end of 2014. By the end of this year it will be 29.”

“I was never a big fan of science fiction; I always found science without fiction more exciting. And yet I find it remarkable; when Hollywood shows the future, then it is almost never without cars, but mostly with absolutely fascinating cars. And for good reason: the car of the future will not only be emission free, and if necessary driverless, but also absolutely fascinating.”

EST 2015 – Conference with international appeal

Around 32% of the EST participants came from abroad – the biggest proportion of these travelled from European nations (around 59%), followed by participants from Asia (28%). In total, participants from 35 countries were represented.

After a successful start – hosts think about repeating the EST

Dr. Karl-Friedrich Ziegahn, Area Manager of “natural and man made environment” at KIT summarised: “The whole spectrum of the energy world was presented, in a breadth that is unusual for a conference. Speakers and exhibitors highlighted the topic both from a scientific and technological point of view. A high proportion travelled from abroad, including many top class scientists and experts from the economy – a sign of the great appeal and significance of the event. Due to the success of the event, we want to talk to our partners about repeating the event.“

Quotes from exhibitors:

Dr.-Ing. Hans Hubschneider, Chairman of fokus.energie e.V., Karlsruhe: “Our expectations were met. We could make our network visible here at the congress, and present together with our partners – i.e. entrepreneurs, research and educational institutions, start ups and students.”

Michele Zahner, R&D Engineer, greenTEG, Zurich: “The congress offers an exciting mixture of research and related projects. We work in the area of sensors, and were able to make many contacts with potential new customers, both from building services engineering and science and research. We would come back to the event.”

Dr. Thomas Schubert and Peter von Czarnecki, manufacturers of special chemicals and nanomaterials, iolitec, Heilbronn: “We not only exhibited here, but also attended lectures on batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen production. The presentations were very attractive, and we were able to make and maintain research contacts, and received suggestions for new opportunities for collaboration.”

Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Phys. Thomas Reichert, Environmental simulation, Fraunhofer-Institut für Chemische Technologie ICT: “We are satisfied with the reaction. We had good contacts at our stand and during the poster session. Many people were primarily interested in our solar air collector, which converts solar energy into warm air, which can then be used to dry grain. Some of these people were investors, who asked about our application, which is very cost effective, for third world countries.”