Annual research report 2015

Introduction

This booklet gives an overview of the energy-related PhD student and Postdoc research projects at the Eindhoven University of Technology, TU/e. Energy research at TU/e comprises four themes:

Chemergy
Storage of energy is a key technology 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.

Solar PV
The sun offers more than enough energy to power our entire civilization. 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.

Urban energy
Urban energy is not only about new materials, cooling techniques, or 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.

Nuclear fusion
Fusion is 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.

Energy research at TU/e is institutionalized at the Strategic Area Energy (SAE) whose mission is ‘to establish an energy ecosystem for science, society and industry’. For this, we cooperate with cities and provinces, on a national level with the Dutch Topsectors where also industry partners participate, and internationally within European University Alliances. 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 booklet was put together so that from existing knowledge new cooperation and scientific breakthroughs are initiated.

David Smeulders
Scientific Director, Strategic Area Energy