Visit to the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)

Our visit to the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria´s largest non-university research institution, was one of our highlights during our Master program. Thanks to Mr. Gragger and Dr. Zucker we really got a nice insight into AIT´s research areas and projects. The Austrian Institute of Technology is split up into 5 main departments which include Energy, Mobility, Safety & Security, Health & Environment and Foresight & Policy Development. Summarized, challenges like the ongoing climate changes, scare resources and chaning resources are addressed and describe AIT´s motivation.

We especially had a closer look at the Electric Drive Technologies Business Unit of the Mobility Department. This unit researches mainly the topic of electric mobility, especially all the range of micro, mild, full and plug-in hybrids which are already available or will be available in the near future. In this context, the project of the Zero Emission Sport Motorcycle was brought to our attention: This motorcycle is a purely electrically driven motorcycle which was fully simulated using a magnitude of tools to optimize energy consumption and behavior. This research was done in conjunction with KTM. According to Mr. Gragger the major issue is currentyl the battery.

Another research topic that is addressed in the Mobility Department is, for example, the optimisation of mobility systems including crowd dynamics. Another project was brought to our attention, namely the project "RAVE: This project involved simulations of the transport of people in the underground during the European Football Championship in Vienna in 2008. The challenge was to move around 24000 people in an hour from an underground station. We also got the chance to visit the Electric Drive Technologies labs, where we could inspect two electric drives prototypes, the KTM bike and a hybrid powered Quad.

Dr. Zucker from the Energy department, gave us a presentation on the Business Unit "Sustainable Building Technologies" and the Research Field "Energy in Building". The AIT Energy Department focuses on environmentally friendly generation of electricity and its efficient distribution. Especially renewable energy technologies are of major importance for them. Further more they address the challenge of emission reductions in build environments. This includes small scale buildings as well as large scale urban areas to form sustainable energy concepts. Goals include energy efficiency in cities and buildings as well as renewable heating and cooling.

Finally we visited the ENERGYbase. The main idea of this building was to bring the passive house concept to an office building. During the design phase starting in 2003, these elements were considered: Use as much glass as possible to allow for daylight and heating. The facade should shade itself from direct sunlight Design for a low demand of cooling.

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