Annual research report 2016
Each year, the Strategic Area Energy brings out an overview of the ongoing energy research within the Eindhoven University of Technology. With over 500 researchers in the field of energy, we have decided to restrict the Annual Research Report 2016 to the energy-related PhD student and Postdoc research started in 2013, 2015 and those who resulted in a promotion in 2016. Energy research at TU/e is undertaken within four strategic themes:
With the expectations of growth for renewable energy production, the storage or conversion of energy are key technologies in the transition to a low-carbon society. Chemical bonds offer high-energy density and are compatible with current energy carriers. We work on the fundamental challenges in the efficient conversion of CO2 with renewable energy to energy-dense and transportable chemicals.
The sun offers more than enough energy to power the world’s population. The Earth’s surface receives 10,000 times the amount that we consume. Photovoltaic systems, along with smart grids and heat storage systems will shape the era of renewable energy. We work on increasing the efficiency of existing technologies as well as finding new ways of converting sunlight into electricity.
Urban energy is not only about researching new materials, cooling techniques, or developing heat storage devices. Our goal is to have a sustainable energy-positive built environment in 2050, without the use of fossil fuels, with superior indoor and outdoor environmental quality. Research at TU/e is aimed at integrating energy technologies in buildings and their environment.
Fusion could be an endgame solution. It holds the promise of inexhaustible energy – clean, safe and available to all. With one drawback: it is an exceedingly complex scientific and technical challenge. Yet recent decades have seen rapid progress. Today, 34 countries are building the first power-generating fusion reactor, ITER, in a worldwide collaboration. In ITER, a ‘burning’ plasma is kept at a temperature of hundreds of millions of degrees, suspended in a magnetic field.
With its energy research, the TU/e works towards its mission ‘to help industrialise the energy transition’. Research is institutionalized at the Strategic Area Energy, a platform for collaboration with national and regional governments, the industry as well as partner organisations. However, such an ecosystem can only thrive if within TU/e itself, gaps between individual departments are bridged and (PhD) students and postdocs are actively encouraged to learn about existing energy research at other departments. It is for that reason that this report was put together so that from existing knowledge new cooperation and scientific breakthroughs are initiated.
Laetitia Ouillet, director
David Smeulders. scientific director