The CENER-CIEMAT Foundation was created in 2002 with the mission of providing support for RD&I activity of firms by rendering technological services and executing R&D projects, developing production technologies to exploit energy sources through research and development, and facilitating maximum penetration of renewable energies in the energy system by generating the necessary tools and services to provide solutions to technical problems and relational difficulties between the various agents within the systems.
Providing services and research to promote renewable energies
CENER’s main research areas fall under six main topics: Wind Energy, Solar Thermal, Solar Photovoltaic, Biomass, Energy in Buildings, and Renewable Energy Grid Integration including energy storage. Their activities in these sectors cover the entire renewable energy generation process, from determining renewable resources, to developing tools for simulation and design, as well as energy generation technology.
The centre can also define and execute tests and certification of complete systems and components, perform technological risk assessments and studies of the economic feasibility of projects, and also develop and apply regulations to support renewable energy development.
Cutting edge technological infrastructures at the service of RD&I
In order to implement cutting-edge research and provide high quality services CENER has in its premises some of the most modern laboratories and facilities in the world. These facilities include the Wind Turbine Test laboratory (LEA), which focuses on performing tests and trials on wind turbines, ranging from components to complete wind turbines, according to international standards. This LEA supplied with power by CENER’s own Microgrid, which also provides part of the public lighting of the industrial estate.
CENER’s facilities for testing and certification include the Thermal Collector Characterisation Laboratory which is an internationally recognised ENAC accredited laboratory for Solar Keymark and Solar Rating & Certification Corp. (SRCC) certification testing, and the Photovoltaic Module Test Laboratory, which is accredited by the National Accreditation Body (ENAC) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), for testing PV modules under following standards: IEC-61215 for crystalline silicon PV modules, IEC-61646 for thin film PV modules, IEC-61730 Electrical Safety Tests and IEC-62108 for CPV.
Further, CENER hosts the Second Generation Biofuel Centre, which was conceived as a semi-industrial pilot scale test facility able to develop second generation biofuel production processes based on raw materials that are not competitive with the food industry (especially lignocellulosic materials such as forest and grass waste), the production of biofuels via different production means (thermochemical, biochemical and/or enzymatic), and the application of biorefinery concepts.
Supporting Renewable Energy RD&I Projects
CENER is currently involved in a large number of projects promoting renewable energy – as project leader, co-ordinator, or partner – at Spanish and European level, including a number of projects with Greenovate! Europe (ButaNexT, EU-GUGLE, ETFE-MFM and Windtrust). Some key projects include:
- CENER is the scientific co-ordinator of the ButaNexT project which aims to develop highly efficient production processes and convert sustainable feedstocks for the next generation of biobutanol. CENER is dealing with the processes of pre-treatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation and recovery of biobutanol "in situ" assigned to scale and integration in a pilot plant. These activities take place in the Second Generation Centre of Biofuels;
- In the Inwind project, CENER is responsible for performing aerodynamic and structural studies as well as to researching new offshore wind turbine concepts;
- At a national level, CENER is participating in the AiSoVol project which focuses on the employment of new materials to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules with similar characteristics to conventional modules. CENER is leading the tests and validation of the PV prototypes as well as actively participating in the design and dissemination of project results;
- In the area of grid integration, CENER is partner in the LIFE ZAESS project which aims to demonstrate a low cost and environmentally friendly Zinc Air Energy Storage System for renewable energy integration. CENER is assessing the environmental sustainability of the zinc-air technology, and identifying legal and regulatory barriers that could hinder the deployment of energy storage technologies. Furthermore, CENER is contributing to the analysis of the power sector and potential applications of energy storage systems;
- CENER is co-ordinating two large European projects: CAPTure in the area of solar thermal energy and EU-GUGLE which deals with the retrofitting of 6 districts in 6 European cities (Milan, Bratislava, Vienna, Tampere, Aachen and Sestao) towards the nearly zero energy building standard- NZEB.