Energy Technologies Department (DTE)

The strength of the Department of energy technologies stands in its ability to develop technologies, processes, components and systems for the safe and efficient exploitation of renewable sources (concentrated solar energy, photovoltaic, bioenergy), for the rational use and optimal conversion of energy, decarbonisation of the energy system, sustainable use of fossil fuels, electric (mobility, electricity grid services), thermal and chemical storage systems, sustainable mobility, smart cities, critical infrastructure resilience, ICT development for cultural heritage and high performance computing.

The activities are carried out in the 19 laboratories divided into six Divisions:

  • Photovoltaics and Smart Network
  • Smart Energy
  • Thermal and Thermodynamic Solar Energy
  • Efficient Production, Conversion and Use of Energy
  • Bioenergy, Biorefinery and Green Chemistry
  • Development of Systems for Information Technology and ICT

 

The Photovoltaics and Smart Network Division carries out studies and research for the development of innovative high efficiency devices like cells with new structures based on low-cost materials (perovskite, kesterite) and advanced technologies (graphene, multiple junctions) and of industrial interest, together with the development and realisation of simulators and demonstrators of networks and micronetworks for smart grids with integration of RES and storage.

The Smart Energy Division develops technologies for energy efficiency and application of ICT to Smart Cities through interoperable platforms, the Internet of things in cloud environments (Industry 4.0), the implementation of monitoring and control systems for public energy-intensive infrastructures, assisted living services and energy support for citizens and smart lighting. Further lines of activity concern the Protection of Critical Infrastructures and cyber security, submarine communication (submarine IoT), control and management of drones for security applications and urban environmental monitoring, management of critical infrastructures, development of hardware and software for the diversified and pervasive application of intelligent sensor networks (citizen science, IoT).

The Thermal and Thermodynamic Solar Division works on small and medium polygeneration power plants (which have greater market prospects) for industrial use, but above all for residential and tertiary use. Other activities regard innovative plant solutions for the integration of thermodynamic solar technology with photovoltaics, thermal cycles with gas with supercritical CO2, thermal cycles with organic fluid. Particular noteworthy are experiments on solar discs with air microturbine for cogeneration applications in residential and commercial buildings.

In the field of ecological fuels, activities are focused on solar chemistry applications for long-term heat storage and the construction of innovative electric batteries powered by solar heat. Besides its R&D activities, the division also provides consulting and support services for the design of innovative solar systems.

The Efficient Production, Conversion and Use of Energy Division develops innovative technologies for various types of high-efficiency and low-cost storage systems , with particular focus on the electrochemical storage of energy for stationary and mobile applications, (lithium-sulphur accumulators and low-cost lithium-ion batteries and the development of hybrid battery-supercapacitor systems) and the development of low-cost technologies for the de-carbonisation of fossil fuels for energy production, of turbogas energy cycles, aiming at cycles with supercritical CO2 levels.  Components, production and demonstration processes are developed and engineered to promote the spread and commercial penetration of fuel cells and heat transfer technologies in the heat pump sector, for thermal control of server components in the electronics and aerospace industries. In terms of electric and sustainable mobility, the Division is engaged in the development of fast dynamic wireless charging technologies, high-power high-speed (<30 minutes) modular recharging systems for local public transport, support tools for the economic, energetic and environmental definition, design and assessment of operational solutions for the electrification of urban public transport.

The Bioenergy, Biorefinery and Green Chemistry Division is specialised in the development/optimisation of low consumption and high efficiency processes to obtain raw materials for the chemical/bioenergy industry, integrated layouts for biorefining bioresources and innovative processes and components for the production of gaseous biofuels from anaerobic digestion and biomass gasification.

Other fields of research are the development of high efficiency cultivation methods and systems for the production/collection of algal biomasses to be used for bioenergy and green chemistry; development and scale-up of advanced fermentation processes for the production of alcohols, organic acids, hydrocarbons, etc. from waste, by-products and effluents of agricultural production and agro-industrial processing.

As for the Division for the Development of IT and ICT Systems , activities are focused on the development of computational models for the energy, new materials and transport sectors, development of data acquisition systems and representation of data for cultural heritage, data acquisition and processing systems for smart city applications. Creation of Big Data infrastructures for energy and environmental applications. Portals for industry or specific activities. Networked laboratories (remote access, data sharing, participation in joint experiments). Work is also done to strengthen the implementation of the Digital Administration Code process also introducing authentication systems based on the Public Digital Identity System (SPID).