Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.34M | Year: 2014
This world-leading Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy will focus on delivering the people to realise the potential of biomass to provide secure, affordable and sustainable low carbon energy in the UK and internationally. Sustainably-sourced bioenergy has the potential to make a major contribution to low carbon pathways in the UK and globally, contributing to the UKs goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and the international mitigation target of a maximum 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise. Bioenergy can make a significant contribution to all three energy sectors: electricity, heat and transport, but faces challenges concerning technical performance, cost effectiveness, ensuring that it is sustainably produced and does not adversely impact food security and biodiversity. Bioenergy can also contribute to social and economic development in developing countries, by providing access to modern energy services and creating job opportunities both directly and in the broader economy. Many of the challenges associated with realising the potential of bioenergy have engineering and physical sciences at their core, but transcend traditional discipline boundaries within and beyond engineering. This requires an effective whole systems research training response and given the depth and breadth of the bioenergy challenge, only a CDT will deliver the necessary level of integration. Thus, the graduates from the CDT in Bioenergy will be equipped with the tools and skills to make intelligent and informed, responsible choices about the implementation of bioenergy, and the growing range of social and economic concerns. There is projected to be a large absorptive capacity for trained individuals in bioenergy, far exceeding current supply. A recent report concerning UK job creation in bioenergy sectors concluded that there may be somewhere in the region of 35-50,000 UK jobs in bioenergy by 2020 (NNFCC report for DECC, 2012). This concerned job creation in electricity production, heat, and anaerobic digestion (AD) applications of biomass. The majority of jobs are expected to be technical, primarily in the engineering and construction sectors during the building and operation of new bioenergy facilities. To help develop and realise the potential of this sector, the CDT will build strategically on our research foundation to deliver world-class doctoral training, based around key areas:  Feedstocks, pre-processing and safety;  Conversion;  Utilisation, emissions and impact;  Sustainability and Whole systems. Theme 1 will link feedstocks to conversion options, and Themes 2 and 3 include the core underpinning science and engineering research, together with innovation and application. Theme 4 will underpin this with a thorough understanding of the whole energy system including sustainability, social, economic public and political issues, drawing on world-leading research centres at Leeds. The unique training provision proposed, together with the multidisciplinary supervisory team will ensure that students are equipped to become future leaders, and responsible innovators in the bioenergy sector.
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 589.52K | Year: 2011
Solar power is by far the most abundant renewable energy source. However, at present its use is limited by the high cost of solar cells, so that we continue to obtain most of our power from fossil fuels. Polymer (plastic) solar cells are an exciting research field that aims to address this problem, as polymer solar cells could be made by simple manufacturing processes such as roll to roll coating. The result would be much lower cost solar cells, with much lower energy of production. Most research to date has focussed on the efficiency of such solar cells, and good progress has been made, leading to efficiencies approximately two thirds of commercial amorphous silicon solar cells.In this proposal we address the most important remaining issue, namely understanding and enhancing the lifetime of polymer solar cells. To do this we will combine advanced photophysical, morphological and chemical analysis of solar cells before, during and after operation to gain new insight into the factors controlling degradation of such cells. This will provide a solid foundation for developing strategies for extending the solar cell lifetime in the later part of the project.The operation of polymer solar cells depends critically on the nanometre scale arrangement of the materials, so we will use sophisticated electron tomography techniques to study the nanoscale morphology and how it changes with device operation. This will be complemented by optical and electronic measurements performed in-situ on operating solar cells. A further innovation will be to make nanoscale perforation of an encapsulation layer and combine it with electron beam techniques to study local degradation with nanometre resolution. This challenging programme requires collaboration between world-leading research groups in St Andrews, Changchun, and Glasgow to access the range of expertise and facilities to make major progress, and will lead to a new UK-China collaboration.
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 244.21K | Year: 2011
The UK is planning to make massive investments in offshore wind farms which will result in several fleets of similar wind turbines being installed around the UK coastline. The economic case for these wind turbines assumes a very high technical availability, which means simply that the turbines have to be working and ready to generate electricity for nearly all of the time. Not achieving this availability could well result in large economic losses. Unfortunately there is relatively little operational experience of offshore systems on which to base the estimates used. The systems may turn out to behave in unexpected ways by failing earlier than expected, or by proving more difficult to maintain. Even well-known systems can behave differently when used in new environments, which is why reliability databases often indicate ranges of failure behaviour rather than single number estimates. Availability is difficult to model because, in addition to the unknown impact of different environments, there is often a period of adjustment in which operators and manufacturers adapt their processes and systems to the new situation, leading to the potential for availability growth. However, with a new fleet of turbines there is also an aging process as they all grow older together which could lead to lower availability. The economic case for offshore systems depends a lot on whether high enough availability can be achieved, particularly in the early years of operation which are important for paying back the investment costs. This project looks at the degree of uncertainty there is in availability estimates for offshore wind turbines. This uncertainty is not one that averages out when there are a large number of turbines, because it has a systematic affect across all the turbines in a wind farm and therefore leads to corresponding uncertainty in the overall availability across the wind farm. This type of uncertainty is often called state-of-knowledge uncertainty and only gets reduced by collecting data over the longer term. Even if we are not yet able to collect operational data, we can still gain an understanding of the sources of state-of-knowledge uncertainty. Mathematical models can help us understand how different sources of uncertainty affect the uncertainty about availability, and to find out which ones we should be most concerned about. That, in turn, will help researchers to focus their energies on resolving the issues that ultimately have the biggest impact.In this project, operations researchers will work together with engineers and other researchers in the renewables sector, in order to build credible mathematical models to help answer these questions. Doing that requires the development of new mathematics, particularly in the way we represent how uncertainties are affected by different environmental and engineering aspects. It requires us to find better ways of getting information from experts into a form that we can use in the mathematical models, and it also requires us to find new ways of running the models on a computer.
Akzo Nobel, Energy Research Center of the Netherlands and University of Twente | Date: 2016-01-20
The present invention pertains to a process for the separation of methanol and water from non-condensables wherein a feed stream comprising methanol, water and non-condensables is subjected to a membrane separation step at a temperature of at least 150C and a pressure of at least 1 bar (100 kPa) thereby separating the mixture into a permeate being enriched in methanol and water as compared to the feed stream and a retentate being leaner in methanol and water as compared to the feed stream, characterized in that the membrane separation step is carried out using a membrane comprising a separating layer of sulfonated poly ether.
Sanderse B.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands
Journal of Computational Physics | Year: 2013
Energy-conserving methods have recently gained popularity for the spatial discretization of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations. In this paper implicit Runge-Kutta methods are investigated which keep this property when integrating in time. Firstly, a number of energy-conserving Runge-Kutta methods based on Gauss, Radau and Lobatto quadrature are constructed. These methods are suitable for convection-dominated problems (such as turbulent flows), because they do not introduce artificial diffusion and are stable for any time step. Secondly, to obtain robust time-integration methods that work also for stiff problems, the energy-conserving methods are extended to a new class of additive Runge-Kutta methods, which combine energy conservation with L-stability. In this class, the Radau IIA/B method has the best properties. Results for a number of test cases on two-stage methods indicate that for pure convection problems the additive Radau IIA/B method is competitive with the Gauss methods. However, for stiff problems, such as convectiondominated flows with thin boundary layers, both the higher order Gauss and Radau IIA/B method suffer from order reduction. Overall, the Gauss methods are the preferred method for energy-conserving time integration of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Coletti G.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands
Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications | Year: 2013
For the first time, the sensitivity to impurities of the solar cell conversion efficiency is reported for a state-of-the-art (i.e., 18%) and advanced device architecture (i.e., 23%). The data are based on the experimental results obtained in the CrystalClear project for the state-of-the-art cell process and extrapolated to a device with excellent front and rear surface passivation. Both device structures are not assumed to work in low injection level as several studies assumed before, but real operating conditions are considered. This is a fundamental difference with the past and required for modeling future high efficiency devices. The impurity with highest impact is Ti, followed by Cu, Cr, Ni and Fe, which form together a group two order of magnitude less sensitive than the former. In high efficiency devices, a large reduction of the impurity impact is visible for impurities with large capture cross-section ratio like Fe, which reduces its relative difference in comparison with, for example, Cr, which has a small capture cross-section ratio. In general, advanced devices will be more sensitive to the impurity content than the state-of-the-art cell design. This effect is partly compensated by a reduction of the substrate thickness. The impurity sensitivity as function of the substrate thickness is reported. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. For the first time, the sensitivity to impurities of the solar cell conversion efficiency is reported for a state-of-the-art (i.e., 18%) and advanced device architecture (i.e., 23%). Both device structures are not assumed to work in low injection level. This is a fundamental difference with the past and required for modeling future high efficiency devices. In general, advanced devices will be more sensitive to the impurity content than the state-of-the-art cell design. The effect of the substrate thickness is also taken in consideration in the study. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Boonekamp P.G.M.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands
Energy Efficiency | Year: 2011
The Energy Service Directive (ESD) of the European Union (EU) stipulates that member states realize 9% energy savings for the period 2008-2016. A harmonized calculation approach, consisting of a combination of top-down and bottom-up methods, will be developed to determine the savings of energy efficiency improvement measures. However, it is unclear which part of all realized energy savings is eligible in meeting the ESD target. One can argue that not all savings, especially the autonomous efficiency gains, should be accounted for, but only savings due to (new) policy. An analysis is made of the way the methods can be applied, how baseline choices define the savings and whether these represent policy-induced savings. It is shown that the given target could be met with total energy savings that equal 1.0% of ESD energy use per year, hardly more than realized at present. With other choices, the target is met with total savings of 1.6% per year. The savings found are made comparable with the 2.4% yearly savings derived from the 20% savings target for 2020 formulated by the EU. Given the large gap between ESD savings and the savings target, it is concluded that the methods and baselines used should be chosen such that the ESD target leads to realized savings after 2008 at the upper side of the margin. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Jansen J.C.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands |
Seebregts A.J.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands
Energy Policy | Year: 2010
The paper reviews some recent approaches towards measuring the extent of long-term energy security and security externality valuation. It starts out to discuss the contextual connotations of notions of 'energy security' in medium to long-term time frames and reviews some indicators that have been proposed to quantify it. Special attention is paid to two of these approaches, which the authors helped to develop, i.e. diversity-based indices and the Supply/Demand Index. The paper takes issue with conventional welfare economic approaches that neglect: (i) the scope on the demand side for raising security and (ii) negative feedback mechanisms of socio-political impacts of international rent transfers in fossil fuels exporting countries. The concept of energy services security is proposed with a demand-side focus. This enables application of an integrated approach to gauge the resilience of a society to meet the needs of its population for energy services over longer timescales ahead from various interrelated perspectives. Propositions are made on the attribution of security externalities to the use of fossil fuels, policies, and suggestions for further improvements of measures for energy services security. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Energy Research Center of the Netherlands | Date: 2010-12-15
The invention relates to a photovoltaic element, comprising a stacked structure of at least one layer of semiconductor material of the p-type and a layer of semiconductor material of the n-type for generating electrical charge carriers under the influence of photons incident on the interface of these layers, wherein a non transparent metallization pattern is applied to the front surface and the rear surface of the stacked structure and the photovoltaic element is of the metallisation wrap through type and comprises a number of holes each defining a unit cell, wherein the metallisation at the front surface comprises a number of conductors extend substantially radially from the holes, wherein each of the fingers is branched at least once and that the width of the fingers decreases at said first branching in the direction from the holes towards the edge of the unit cell.
Energy Research Center of the Netherlands | Date: 2011-08-24
A photovoltaic device, having an improved passivation of surfaces, such as a circumferential outer wall and/or an aperture wall of a back contact metal wrap-through photovoltaic device, for example, into which the pn-junction of first and second semiconductor layers extends. The passivation comprises a passivating layer of a first type, covering at least part of such wall substantially comprised by the depletion region across the pn-junction; a passivating layer of a second type, covering at least part of such wall comprised by the first semiconductor layer, and a passivating layer of a third type covering at least part of the outer wall comprised by the second semiconductor layer.