Some time ago we talked about the Eni‘s research in the field of OPVs, Organic PhotoVoltaics. This time we will talk about another Eni’s project. It deals with LSC, Luminescent Solar Concentrator. Although LSC’s technology was known from ’60, it wasn’t developed because of low efficiency and difficulties in producing luminescent colorants.
Eni,thanks to the alliance with Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT of Boston, started working on this technology years ago. The headquarters of the project is the laboratory of Renewable Energies and Environment in Novara.
Luminescent Solar Concentrator LSC are photo active transparent plates used to capture solar light. They consist of two layer of glass or plastic and luminescent colorants. The colorants absorb the sun’s light and re-emit it at a longer wavelength. The radiation is conveyed to the edges of the plate where pv cells are installed. The radiation absorbed is so used to generate electricity. The concentrating system has a lot of advantages. For example, it avoids cell’s overheating. Moreover, going through the plate the radiation is re-emitted at a optimal wavelength, in order to increase the efficiency of conversion.
Fields of application
There are a lot of applications for LSC. The first prototipe of bus shelter was installed in Rome, at the Eni’s building. The plant consists of 192 yellow LSC plates and it produces almost 500 Wp. The energy is employed to recharge electrical bicycles. Another interesting field of application of LSC is the Smart Windows (we have already talked of it here).
In Novara, Demetra, the first LSC’s greenhouse has been installed. The energy produced is used to supply a monitoring system for temperature and humidity of the air. The greenhouse, showed at Maker Faire in Rome, is described in this video:
Eni and MIT
The alliance between Eni and MIT started in 2008. Store energy, capture CO2, develop new technologies in petroleum field: these are some of the research going on. Safety++ is a project dealing with promote job security. Solar Centers and Low-Carbon Energy Centers are centers where researchers conduct studies about renewable and green technologies. Rafael Reif, MIT president, states:
Our researchers have the ingenuity to invent new materials, technologies, processes and policies. But for their work to reach the marketplace and make an impact on a global scale, we count on creative partnerships with visionary firms like Eni.