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17 November 2009

Minister Castells Presents the Tarragona Branch of the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research

On Monday the 16th, the Catalan Government’s Secretary of Economy and Finance, Antoni Castells, also Chairman of the Board of the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), along with Francesc Xavier Grau, Rector of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and Antoni Martínez, Director of IREC, presented IREC’s premises on the Sescelades Campus in Tarragona. IREC is a research center focusing primarily on energy efficiency and conservation as well as on renewable energy and carrying out fundamental market-oriented research. Participants include institutions, university scholars and researchers and the private sector.

IREC’s Tarragona branch, at the Sescelades Campus of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), will center on research and technology in the fields of bioenergy, biofuels and marine wind energy, as well as part of the research on energy efficiency. At present, the Institute is located at the Bioenergy and Biofuels Laboratory of the URV’s Advanced Chemical Engineering School (Escola Tècnica Superior d’Enginyeria Química, ETSEQ) and during the first semester of 2010, will occupy 2,000 m2 of the Sustainable Chemistry R&D building in Tarragona’s Science and Technology Park, located at carrer Marcel•lí Domingo. In the future, IREC is to have a building designed especially for it in the Science Park. The other IREC center is located in Barcelona.
 

Tarragona, an international center of excellence in marine wind power and biofuels

IREC wishes its Tarragona branch to become an international center of excellence in marine wind energy and biofuel research. IREC will therefore focus its efforts on developing appropriate solutions for installing wind turbines in off-shore deep-sea areas so as to prevent negative visual impact and harvest the strongest and steadiest winds occurring in deep-sea areas; whereas on the long-term, the biofuels division aims to develop the concept of biorefining, that is, extracting derivatives from biomass and refuse that are currently being obtained from oil.

The center is already working on a project for building an off-shore testing platform for marine wind energy that will be used as a laboratory for testing the new technologies required in this field before they come out on the market. This initiative, which will be one of the most significant in the world, will allow the leading international research centers, universities and companies to work together. The testing platform will allow the development of technology reducing the visual impact of wind energy parks, and its creation will have a positive effect on the regional economic fabric thanks to the business opportunities it represents and the specialized wind energy training programs that will be offered.

About IREC

IREC is an energy research center founded in 2008 specializing in R&D on energy efficiency and conservation, more specifically, on micro-generation networks, electric vehicles, energy storage and energy efficiency in buildings. The center will also have a Power Electronics Laboratory, an area for research, design and characterization of materials for energy uses, and an area dedicated to Sociotechnical Research in the energy sphere. The center will be progressively built up such that by 2014, it will have 150 highly-qualified professionals working there.

IREC is sponsored by the Generalitat Government of Catalonia -through its Departments of Economy and Finance, and Innovation, Universities and Business- and the Central Government of Spain –through their Center for Energy, Environmental and Technology Research (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, CIEMAT) and the Institute for Energy Diversification and Conservation (Instituto para la Diversificación y el Ahorro de la Energía, IDAE)-, the University of Barcelona, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Polytechnic University of Catalonia), the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Endesa, Gas Natural and the Societat General d’Aigües de Barcelona.