As Europe seeks to make the move from coal-based energy production to cleaner alternatives, the requirements for further investments across the board are imperative. One key avenue of investment is research and university based funding, which enables the understanding and creation of hundreds of new renewable innovations a year.
In the US, funding on solar transfer projects has begun to pay dividends. At MIT, scientists have been toiling over solar energy capture and are exploring a thermo-chemical approach, a distinct different from current solar standards which include photovoltaics – turning sunlight into electricity, and solar thermal – utilising the sun's heat to boil water to turn a turbine, or use the heat directly for hot water or home heating.
With extensive funding the scientists at MIT have been able to locate a molecule which absorbs sunlight to go into one state and then release heat when it reverts back to its original state. 'Essentially, the molecule undergoes a structural transformation when it absorbs sunlight, putting the molecule into a higher-energy state where it can remain stable indefinitely. Then, triggered by a small addition of heat or a catalyst, it snaps back to its original shape, releasing heat in the process,' scientists have said.
At the EU’s Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels in March, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank predicted a billion euro investment within the power and renewables sector, which is a positive step for European advancements.
For Europe and across the globe the fertile interaction between industry and academia can produce thousands of new inventions every year. The renewable sector is harnessing this output and benefitting from some truly cutting-edge solutions.
At the Power and Renewables Summit in April, the leading figures within both academic and industry circles will meet on one panel, focusing on accelerating the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies and bridging the gap between laboratory proven technologies and full scale commercially tested systems.
Leading industry names in attendance will include Ingmar Wilhelm, EVP Europe, Enel; Roberto Deambroggio, Head of Europe, Enel Green Power, Anders Dahl, Head of Renewables, Vattenfall; Christian Kjaer, CEO, European Renewable Energy Council/European Wind Energy Association and Michael Lewis. MD Europe, E.ON.
In this current economic climate, funding is inevitable going to decrease or cease altogether on some of these inspirational new projects. Let’s just hope the heads that be, from the companies above can find new ways to continue this sterling and beneficial research.