New Energy Sources
New Energy Sources
Starting from 1974, following the oil crisis, research activities in renewables have been initiated in Icpe. From this year on, new energy sources became a distinctive activity in our institute by creation, as a distinct department, of the New Energy Sources Laboratory (NESL).
Before 1989, NESL-Icpe had the leading position in solar and wind energy research in România, official partner in joint projects financed and organized at national and international level.
After the great opening to Europe from 1989, NESL-Icpe was involved in PECO, JOULE THERMIE, INCO-COP and FP5 Projects, finding new opportunities to improve the overall activity.
The main activities have been dedicated to promotion of renewables in România through:
- R&D in the field of Solar, Wind, Hydro, Biomass
- Organise Conferences
- Participation in European Technology Platforms
- Implementation of specific projects and aplications in the field of renewables.
Between 1976-1980, NESL-Icpe in asscociation with ICCE-Băneasa produced the first generation of solar photovoltaic cells, based on monocrystalline silicon, and PV modules that passed the qualification tests in 1982.
For these PV modules the peak power was in the range 6.5 - 10 Wp. The technology for the small scale production of these PV modules was entirely developed by NESL specialists.
After 1989, NESL-Icpe developed the second generation of PV modules, with solar cells of 4” diameter, with power in the range of 20-35Wp.
This type of modules, SM 12- 36/100, meets the requirements of the specification 502/CEC Joint Research Center.
A solar tracking system was developed for these PV modules.
The R&D activity in PV cells and module technology is now oriented to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells and, also, new encapsulation methods for modules.
The solar cells based on organic components is other important research activity.
NESL-Icpe developed small wind turbines, with output up to 3 kW electric, for remote areas, mainly for residential applications.
Studies of energy storage in RE systems have been done: hydrogen storage, chemical storage (Pb-acid batteries) photochemical storage or using pumped water.
Hydrogen electrolysis was studied in NESL some years ago, using a 2 kW electrolyzer at Agigea Test Site facility.
NESL was involved in the research and design of high temperature, concentrated solar thermal collectors, for industrial use.
The collectors were able to produce hot water in the temperature range of 50 - 150 °C, at different flow rates at the output of the solar thermal plants, using low and medium concentration factor.
In 1982 two types of solar thermal collectors passed qualification tests: CSC-1, with x5 concentration factor, and CSC-2, with x16 concentration factor. Both collectors are cylindro-parabolic type, which is the basic module that could be series/parallel connected in order to form a solar thermal plant.
In 1987, NESL installed one solar thermal pilot plant in Agigea Solar and Wind Test Site Facility, on the Black Sea coast. In the initial design, the installed area had to be about 1700 m2. This mini-thermal station was designed for warm water supply for domestic use, during the summer.
The newest direction in solar thermal conversion is the study and experiment of vacuum solar collectors, that seem to be best suited for the solar resources of România, even in the cold season.
Another important direction is building integration of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems. Some projects in this field are under development.
Other important activities is this field are the feasibility studies and design for thermal industrial and residential hybrid plants.