Renewables and Low-Carbon Generation

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Solar

 

Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy source; its harvesting on a global scale shows the potential to fulfil the world’s energy demand. Photovoltaic (PV) devices have great potential as renewable energy sources, yet uptake is challenged by upfront capital costs and the (currently) low petroleum prices.

To become competitive with fossil fuels, it is necessary to reduce the total cost of solar energy, by e.g. reducing the cost of the photovoltaic cells or by increasing their power conversion efficiencies. The photovoltaic market is currently dominated by crystalline Si solar cells with best module efficiencies in the range of 20%.

At ERI@N the focus is on non-silicon technologies such as CIGS and halide perovskite materials for cost-effective solar energy conversion; with a sister institute SERIS focusing on Si technologies. The key rationale to these research efforts is to employ low energy intensive manufacturing processes, in which cost-effective and abundant starting materials are predominantly deposited via solution-processing techniques – thereby avoiding energetically expensive vacuum processes (i.e. low energy payback time). Additionally, the employed fabrication techniques should allow for scale up towards large area energy harvesting devices.

Research Focus and Core Competence

 
 
 

Wind & Marine

 

Current global efforts in developing wind turbine and ocean energy systems towards temperate climate focus mainly on the markets of Europe and North America’s geographical conditions. However, there is a growing energy need in Asia, which specifically experiences relatively lower wind velocity and tidal resource conditions.

ERI@N’s W&M research team hence primarily focuses toward developing right technologies and W&M systems for tropical conditions as well in support of the remote coastal and islandic energy needs as alternative energy sources. In addition, the W&M team also collaborates with industrial partners for developing the right computational design tools and technological solutions to support field based W&M resource mapping, large scale wind & tidal energy systems, reliability studies involving fatigue, wear & tribology issues and advanced materials & manufacturing processes such as: high strength low weight composites, additive manufacturing & laser based surface treatment methods.

Research Focus and Core Competence