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03 August 2018

IREC collaborates in the new alliance between Repsol and Enagás for the development of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen

The IREC energy storage group expands its collaboration after the recent alliance between Repsol and Enagás, and subscribes its scientific collaboration to continue developing a technology that allows the production of renewable hydrogen. Both companies will be able to incorporate this technology into their respective businesses, thus improving sustainability and efficiency.

With this alliance, Repsol and Enagás will promote the development of hydrogen production using solar energy as the main source, reducing the carbon footprint by more than 90% compared to other conventional processes for obtaining this gas.

In the medium term, the renewable hydrogen obtained by this new process can be used by Repsol both in its refining processes, to produce cleaner fuels reducing the presence of sulphur; as in the chemical business, in conventional processes such as the hydrogenation of rubber.

Meanwhile, for Enagás, this project is part of the strategy of developing non-electric renewable energies, such as hydrogen and biogas / biomethane, which are new energy solutions that can play a fundamental role in the process of energy transition projected by the European Union.

 
26 June 2018

IREC participates in the 2018 Mediterranean Games, a long-distance race, with Consell Català de l'Esport.

The Thermal Energy and Building Performance group of IREC participates in the 2018 Mediterranean Games by assessing the environmental comfort of the users at Palau d'Esports Catalunya, in the framework of collaboration with the Consell Català de l'Esport (CCE). IREC carries out a monitoring campaign of the environmental parameters of the Palau d’Esports Catalunya (temperature, relative humidity and CO2 concentration), to calculate the main indicators of thermal comfort and air quality, and to evaluate whether the design of the sport hall guarantees adequate conditions both for the spectators, and for the players. The design of the Palau d'Esports Catalunya was advised by IREC to incorporate energy efficiency criteria to achieve a high energy qualification and meet the characteristics of nearly zero energy building (nZEB). Some of the measures implemented are natural lighting, solar protections, natural ventilation system and a building energy management system, among others.

In addition, on June 6th within the framework of the Sustainable Energy Week, the workshop was performed: "Energy efficiency in sports facilities. Future challenges", organized jointly with the CCE, Institut Català d'Energia (ICAEN) and IREC. The objective of the day was to share the challenges that are being addressed in the field of energy efficiency of sports facilities, from different perspectives: public administration, the sports industry, professionals in the energy sector and research. The day was very enriching and had the participation of more than 30 professionals, covering the entire value chain. IREC presented the study "Energy diagnostic and potential energy savings of the sport facilities in Catalonia”, which was carried out in the collaboration framework with the CCE. The objective of this work is to evaluate the current situation of sports facilities in Catalonia from the energy point of view. The analyzed equipment are sport halls, indoor pools and fields. Also, the study defines the energy consumption levels for this type of buildings in order to achieve nZEB criteria. Finally, an evaluation of the potential energy savings and the investment costs needed to transform the current sports building stock to nZEB level was developed. The work is available in the following link.

 
 
20 June 2018

The Head of the Solar Energy Materials & Systems Group from IREC co-authors a Nature Energy paper

Alejandro Pérez-Rodríguez, Head of the Solar Energy Materials & Systems (SEMS) Group from IREC and Full Professor at the University of Barcelona, co-authors the paper “Understanding the cell-to-module efficiency gap in Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 photovoltaics scale-up” that has been recently published in the highly prestigious journal Nature Energy, in collaboration with Dr. Verónica Bermúdez (formerly at Solar Frontier K.K., Atsugi Research Centre, Japan).

This work results from a long-standing collaboration of the SEMS group with Dr. Bermudez in the research and development of advanced chalcogenide thin film photovoltaic technologies, including Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 (CIGS) technologies that are already at the industrial stage, with a strongly increasing production level that  exceeds several GWatts. SEMS is one of the reference flagship groups at the international level in these advanced technologies that constitute nowadays one of the main industrial options for the fast development of advanced PV integrated products, combining a very high efficiency potential with a very high technological flexibility and low cost. The work reviews and identifies the main barriers that are at the origin of the cell-to-module efficiency gap in these technologies, quantifying the main cell-to-module efficiency loss mechanisms and discussing various strategies explored both in academia and in the industry to reduce this gap. The work highlights different strategies that are relevant for the further industrial consolidation and increase of competitiveness of these advanced technologies that are at the forefront of strongly relevant PV fields as those related to Building Integration.

Reference article:

"Understanding the cell-to-module efficiency gap in Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 photovoltaics scale-up". Verónica Bermúdez, Alejandro Pérez-Rodríguez. Nature Energy.

 
 
13 June 2018

IREC researchers launch pilot project to produce renewable gas in Catalonia

CoSin project has launched a pilot plant of natural gas generation of renewable origin in Riu Sec, located at a treatment facility in Sabadell, through the process of biogas methanation . The methanation unit is the result of collaborative efforts  between the Catalonia Institute Energy Research (IREC), Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) and the German spin-off Ineratec GmbH. This pilot project is connected to an upgrading system of biogas developed by Cetaqua.

The Energy Storage Group of IREC has been responsible of the pilot plant design, commissioning and currently his operation. Over the next months, IREC will determine the optimal operational conditions so that the obtained gas has the same quality as natural gas of fossil origin. The catalysts for the conversion of the biogas to synthetic natural gas using renewable source hydrogen developed by IREC will be validated in the pilot plant.

The CoSin project, led by GNF, is part of the RIS3CAT Energy Community, created by the Regional Government of Catalonia through ACCIO, which involves industrial research projects, experimental development and innovation aimed at driving the energy sector towards a more sustainable and efficient model.

The CoSin Project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, under the framework of the ERDF Operational Programme for Catalonia 2014-2020, and by ACCIÓ, through the RIS3CAT Energy Community.

Please, read the press release for more information.