The group 2 of the Institute of Earth Sciences (ICT) focus on energy, in particular solar energy and storage systems.
Focus its activity on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) systems, developing and testing new technologies to capture and convert solar radiation into heat (for environment heating and cooling, industrial processes, desalination, production of synthetic fuels, etc.) and electricity by photovoltaic or thermal means.
The Group has broadened his research also to the topics of Energy Storage, high-temperature thermal and electricity in the form of advanced batteries (Redox-Vanadium-flow, Sodium-Nickel and Lithium-Ion batteries) as well as the interface engineering between photovoltaic systems and network.
It explores and develops the Herdade da Mitra (University of Évora Pole) experimental park for the rehearsing of large solar concentrator modules (PECS Platform), as well as real scale solar collector fields for thermal electricity generation with molten salts (EMSP), capable of extracting thermal energy at temperatures up to 580°C and two advanced real-scale microgrids with advanced battery storage and photovoltaic generation. These infrastructures constitute a group of the most advanced ones that exist today in Europe and in the World.
These projects are carried out with the collaboration with a large number of European companies and research institutions, a concrete result of a great internationalization effort that has been made since the beginning. It integrates the EU-SOLARIS, STAGE-STE and SFERA3 European networks, thus definitively placing the Group 2 on the map of the leaders of research and innovation in this area.
This group has today a multidisciplinary team, with expertise in non-imaging optics (NIO) the group is involved in different solar concentrator developments making use of NIO concepts.
Some research topics of the Group 2 include:
- Innovative (patented) concepts of Etendue Matched Concentrators increasing end optimizing the optical performance of the line-focus Linear Fresnel Reflector concept
- Development of stationary or quasi-stationary Compound Parabolic Concentrator for medium temperature applications and for soar thermal electricity
- R&D in solar concentrated driven systems modelling (e.g. for combined heat and power production end industrial process heat).
- Solar Thermal energy storage (solid storage and molten salts storage)
- BIPV (with PV electricity stored in VRFB- Vanadium Redox Flow batteries and lithium-ion batteries) with a special concern for the engineering of the interface between PV power production and buildings or other applications
- Materials related research and processes in particular dust control deposition in mirrors and covers
- Direct normal radiation measurement and statistics
- Agricultural water and solar energy research through novel applications of high-power PV and modern irrigation
Besides a complete university courses offer (provided by University of Évora, from engineering degree to doctoral program and Master Courses) on the field of Solar Energy and Renewable Energies supported by experimental works developed with access to the research infrastructures, the services provided by this group comprise also the development of advanced training actions to professionals, either fitting general technical audiences, professional certification schemes or the precise needs of a given company.