Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-15

A song of bronze and frankincense

Oman is a wealthy state. We have seen various expressions of this wealth in the last two weeks. They come in form of prestigious development projects like the botanical gardens or the university, in form of a rather wasteful usage of water and in form of cheap fuel, I mean when did you last fill you 120 l tank for 45€? For Omani citizens the governmental welfare is almost limitless. There are no taxes, free healthcare, education, and a piece of land to build on for every married adult. All of this wealth pours from a single source: oil. One can discuss the sustainability of this situation, but that is not where I am going with this.

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-13

The taste of Oman

When we prepared the lunch for our fieldtrip participants on the first day we triggered a lot of confusion. ‘Is this dinner already?’ (at 1 pm mind you.) ‘No this is lunch.’ ‘WE GET LUNCH?’ Yes indeed, you get lunch. Yes, every day. Three meals a day is apparently unconventional for fieldtrips and I have to admit I gain a few pounds every year, but come on, did you think we would let you starve?! There are fresh veggies, fruit, eggs (oh so many eggs), bread and a number of spreads on the buffet. Dinner embraces the popular concept of ‘Reis mit Scheiß’, whereby ‘Scheiß’ is usually spicy goat or camel or, on meatless days, chicken. But where does all of this come from? How does Oman satisfy its food consumption?

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-12

The White Wadi

Driving off-road is a crucial part of this fieldtrip. We get the Land Cruisers for a reason and the people who drive have the chance to try out a number of different terrains, starting with basic dirt roads, ending with loose sand or gravel. For some of the drivers it`s the first time to leave the safe haven of asphalt and also the first time to handle a 2 ton four-wheel-drive. The fact that there have never been any major driving incidents shows that the off-roading is actually easily learned. Still, there are some tracks that are somewhat tricky.

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-10

Faces in the night

Imagine a wadi. A dry river bed, filled with gravel, at the foot of a tower-shaped mountain. A few trees and shrubs grow between the rubble. Night has already fallen, the mountain stands black before the night sky. The full moon is bright enough to see every pebble and every thorny twig. In this wadi there sits a camp right beside a rudimentary dirt road. The camp has a large white truck, a row of cars, some tables, a circle of camping chairs around a campfire and a few scattered tents. The fire is burning, an interrupted card game lays on a boulder and from the boiling pots in the truck`s kitchen comes a smell of roasted chicken, but nobody is there.

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-09

To Mars and back

Oman is a desert. Per definition, a desert is an area with less than 250 mm of annual precipitation, which is true for the entire country, except for the highest mountains. Still, I believe that if you ask a random European what a desert looks like, they will not describe the landscapes that we saw the last couple of days. Neither turquoise water pools and hanging gardens nor beaches come to mind when you think of deserts. Instead, they will describe what we are about to experience next: red dunes stretching out to the horizon, hot sand under our feet, an unforgiving sun in a clear blue sky, a landscape so barren of vegetation that you wonder if anything can survive in it.

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-07

The Old Men and the Sea

At our beach camp of the last couple of days two things are very obvious. First, Gösta always makes us park in “direction of escape” and second, if you wish to avoid the toilet-tent and instead use the beach - better do it early, otherwise you risk to become amusement to the many fisherman that pass you by on their speedboats.

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-05

Spicy with rice

Today we spend the whole day on a terrace. I know what kind of image this sentence probably triggers: armchairs, cold cobblers, homemade lemonade, sunglasses and general relaxation. Forget that! The terrace we are talking about is a marine terrace, so a staircase-shaped coastal landform that is formed through a combination of sea-level variations and land uplift.

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-04

The secret lies in the crust

This fieldtrip is a highly interdisciplinary fieldtrip. In theory, this means that we can all broaden our knowledge about the neighbouring fields of geology, geography, archaeology and ecology. In reality, this means that it is a little different than the fieldtrips our participants are used to. And what happens when you take people out of their known environment and expose them to changed conditions? Nagging! Usually it takes about a week before the geologists start to complain. This year`s geologists seem to be particularly petty, because it took only one day for them to notice ‘we didn`t look at any outcrops yesterday’. (If you read that last bit in a whiny voice, you are correct.)

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Off to the Desert

by Michaela Falkenroth — 2020-03-03

Welcome to Muscat – the capital of mess and the seedling of sustainability

The day has come. In dribs and drabs our newly minted Oman-travellers arrived at the hotel in Muscat. A hotel that conveniently changed its name and 1/4th of its facade over the last couple of months, but otherwise, from staff to breakfast, remained exactly the same. From the standpoint of the arrivals, something else probably changed its facade over the last 24 hours and that is Oman itself. The country went from a blank shape on a map to a real place with character, colours, sounds and smells.

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Living Lab Energy Campus

by André Xhonneux — 2020-02-19

Die LLEC-Informations- und Kommunikationsplattform

Unser Energiesystem basiert bis heute überwiegend auf Großkraftwerken. In Zukunft wird die Energieversorgung aber immer häufiger auch durch kleinere und dezentrale Energiequellen geprägt sein – z.B. Windenergie-Parks, Photovoltaik-Anlagen oder Wasserkraftwerke. Solche Energiequellen liefern nicht zu jeder Tages- und Jahreszeit gleichmäßige Energieströme, sondern ihre Leistung hängt etwa von Lichteinfall, Wetter und anderen veränderbaren Parametern ab.

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Zweikommazwei

by Gastblogger — 2020-02-11

"Jugend hackt - Mädchen vernetzen" im Forschungszentrum Jülich

Sabrina Schwarz, Claudia Frick und Zoë Hester begleiteten am vergangenen Wochenende ein ganz besonderes Event auf dem Jülicher Campus: Jugend hackt - Mädchen vernetzen. Damit war das Programm Jugend hackt erstmals zu Gast im Forschungszentrum. Claudia Frick, die schon oft bei Jugend hackt als Mentorin dabei war, schlug das Forschungszentrum als neue Location vor und fand mit Sabrina Schwarz und dem Büro für Chancengleichheit eine Koordinatorin für das Projekt.

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Zweikommazwei

by Marcel Bülow — 2020-01-15

Open Access: Bernhard Mittermaier zum DEAL mit Springer Nature

Nach fast dreijährigen Verhandlungen haben die deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen unter dem Dach des Projekts DEAL mit dem großen Wissenschaftsverlag Springer Nature nun einen bundesweiten Publish&Read-Vertrag abgeschlossen. Was das für Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler in Deutschland bedeutet, erläutert Dr. Bernhard Mittermaier, Leiter der Zentralbibliothek des Forschungszentrums Jülich sowie Mitglied der Projektgruppe und der Verhandlungsgruppe von DEAL, im Interview.

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Zweikommazwei

by Marcel Bülow — 2019-12-20

Rückblick 2019

Dass das Jahr zu Ende geht, erkennt man im Forschungszentrum unschwer an der reduzierten Wartezeit im Seecasino (Geschirrrückgabe) oder daran, dass morgens gegen 9 Uhr noch Parkplätze zu finden sind. Es ist also an der Zeit, die vergangenen zwölf Monate hier im Blogportal Revue passieren zu lassen. Und – er soll nicht fehlen – einen kleinen Ausblick zu wagen.

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You and Your Brain

by Anna Geiger — 2019-12-18

2019 - The Year In Review

As the year 2019 slowly draws to a close, it is time to look back on the past 12 months.

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Living Lab Energy Campus

by Stefan Kasselmann — 2019-12-03

Neuartiger LOHC-Wasserstoffspeicher

Eine der zentralen Fragestellungen im Rahmen der Energiewende ist die saisonale Speicherung großer Mengen von Energie. Im Juni 2019 wurde das LLEC-Projekt daher um eine weitere, zentrale Komponente erweitert. Dabei handelt es sich um eine neuartige Technologie auf Basis von LOHC (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier), welche die chemische Speicherung großer Mengen von Energie in füssiger Form erlaubt. Die Energiedichte des beladenen Fluids beträgt dabei ca. 1,86 MWh/m3 und entspricht damit Druckwasserstoff bei etwa 700 bar. Die weltweit einzigartige Demontrationsanlage arbeitet im Verbund mit der neuen Wärmevollversorgungszentrale (WVVZ) und wird durch die Sektorkopplung von Strom, Wärme und chemischer Energie Speicherwirkungsgrade von über 90% erreichen.

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