The Energy and Design laboratory in DCU was established to facilitate fundamental and applied research in energy engineering, with a particular emphasis on the design, modelling, and analysis of sustainable energy systems and installations and the design of energy efficient devices.
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Hydrogen Production as a Clean Fuel and for Renewable Energy Storage
Research supported by Enterprise Ireland is investigating the production of hydrogen from the electrolysis of water, utilising inexpensive non-nobel metal catalysts. This environmentally clean system of hydrogen production operates at low temperatures and pressures. The technology offers the potential for localised renewable energy storage from intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind farms and wave power which are subject to grid curtailment and grid access issues.
Flexcell – Flexible, High Efficiency Solar Cells and Versatile Nano-structuring Technology
The team at Dublin City University (DCU) have developed a unique nano-structuring approach that can be applied to the production Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Silicon based PV cells. This multi-stage technique presents a number of break-through elements that raise the possibility that GaAs wafer cost can be reduced down to a commercially viable level. This, combined with the fact the GaAs material is bound into a flexible polymer makes for a potential game-changing technology. The team at DCU are seeking industry partners to co-examine the potential for the use of these new cell production techniques with a view to establishing the commercial viability of the technology and find a route to market.
Fuel cells are an attractive source of power for portable electronic devices, automotive and utility vehicles and power back-up. They convert a fuel, such as hydrogen, into electricity in a clean and efficient manner. This technology is a novel design of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, which overcomes several limitations of existing fuel cells. The design employs a metal foam as a common fluid flow manifold between adjacent fuel cells, which avoids the use of expensive and heavy metal end plates, which are bulky, heavy and expensive to manufacture due to the machining requirements. We estimate the DCU design offers 50% weight reduction, 30% size reduction and 10% cost reduction compared with existing fuel cell stack technologies. The design also offers significant advantages in its ease of manufacture.
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