Making it new
The turning tide towards sustainable powertrains and energy sources has long been in motion. Industrial Collective Research that wants to do justice to its role in society must therefore contribute to both climate neutrality as well as a resilient and globally competitive national economy. As is so often the case in life, it is much easier to set a goal than to actually work towards it step by step, especially if there are still steep hills to climb.
The FVV set out on this path years ago because we were (and still are) firmly convinced that the monumental task of transformation can only be achieved through innovation within the discussed social and political framework conditions. Technologies are developed by researchers, engineers, technicians and scientists who are passionate not only about continuously improving what already exists, but also about constantly creating something new. Networks that are constantly expanding are crucial for success. FVV offers just such a network of companies, research centres and associations – and this creates the breeding ground from which something new can emerge. As a research association, which future technologies we wanted to work on was a crucial question for us.
Against this backdrop, the board, the research committee and the management of FVV actively initiated a fundamental discussion on how we want to realign our research programme, oriented towards current social, societal and political discussions and decisions. Representatives from many member companies played a constructive role in this process, which came to its conclusion in mid-2022. The results are summarised in a V-model, which will be familiar to all engineers.
Sustainability and society
At the start of the process, represented by the model, are major questions about a sustainable energy supply, especially for the field of mobility, in which technical and macroeconomic aspects have to be taken into account. The orientation studies initiated by the board have already been able to make a significant contribution to a fact-based debate in the past and will continue to do so.
Energy sources and conversion systems
At the underlying system level, the aim is to investigate the potential of new energy sources and energy converters based on regenerative resources. On the other hand, it is important to make the development of the relevant powertrain systems more sustainable and efficient.
As the actual design of powertrain systems cannot be the subject of precompetitive collective research, this point requires explanation. The increasing complexity of powertrain systems, which often combine several energy sources and converters (such as electricity and hydrogen in a hybrid fuel cell system), requires new development methods that can also be used by smalland medium-sized enterprises. By providing appropriate methods, FVV contributes significantly to collective understanding and, above all, to a competitive SME sector.
Of course, the various energy converters – from engines and turbo machines to fuel cells and electrical machines – are and will remain part of the research programme. Work on electrical machines is part of the E-MOTIVE programme, which is carried out in collaboration with VDMA and FVA. The highest energy efficiency and pollutant-free operation in the sense of zeroimpact emissions are what motivate us to continue our research.
Materials science and recycling
Other facets of sustainability are addressed by the work on materials and operating supplies and their properties. Among other things, this lays the foundations for longterm durability, as well as recyclability in a circular economy.
In order to create new knowledge in all these areas, which our member companies can use to develop innovative solutions and bring them to market, a structure in which research projects are primarily initiated by member companies has proven successful in the past. After intensive discussion within various committees, we are now certain that FVV should maintain its character as a ›collaborative association‹. It is precisely due to the fact that the research we initiate is stoked by members’ ideas that the likelihood of industrial application increases considerably. It also remains important to support and nurture young engineering scientists, who get to know the views of industrial companies with regard to research results at an early stage through their work in FVV projects.
Science for a moving society
Our name should also signal the dawn of a new era and must cover the entire breadth of our research, which has long since grown beyond the combustion engine. At the same time, it is intended to signal continuity in our scientific approach, which is renowned throughout the energy and mobility world. And last but not least, it must illustrate the societal relevance of our work. After an intensive discussion process involving many stakeholders, we decided to keep the name FVV and to clarify the new orientation with an additional claim.
The new claim is a promise that we also personally stand for: We develop scientific facts which are used as the basis for creating innovations for continuous change and societal progress. We want to take this opportunity to make this clear in our external communication as well, especially at a time when more and more non-factual or at least unverifiable information is circulating.
Dialogue for progress
The FVV thrives on the support and commitment of its member companies and their willingness to cooperatively promote Industrial Collective Research by providing human, financial and material resources. Individual commitment is essential for establishing at a pre-competitive level common scientific research themes, which are so important for sustainable innovation. Which is why we are very grateful for the committed and ambitious teamwork in the executive and advisory committees and the membership.
We look forward to continuing to work and collaborate with you!
Prof. Dr. Peter Gutzmer