ITAE develops and promotes innovative energy technologies able to conjugate the deep knowledge on electrochemical, catalytic and adsorption processes with the ability to design materials, components and energy systems. The energy technologies based on renewable sources play a central role in the novel energy system scenario, in which the distributed generation will be supported by actions towards the improvement of energy efficiency, also exploiting synergies with the information and telecommunication technologies (ITC).
The novel ITAE research topics are part of this new framework, which includes current needs for a sustainable development. Accordingly, the “Energetic Sustainability” represents the common target of all the different research areas of the institute:
- Technologies for storage and conversion of renewable thermal energy
Development of renewable heating and cooling technologies: solar thermal and low-temperature geothermal energy. Innovative technologies for the low-temperature waste heat source valorisation. Heat pumps. Synthesis, development and characterisation of advanced materials for storage and conversion of thermal energy. Development of innovative fluids for thermal energy transportation. Development of innovative components and prototypes for storage and conversion of thermal energy. Innovative materials for energy savings in buildings.
- Sustainable technologies for production and storage of electrical energy
Fuel cells (materials, components, prototypes). Electrochemical storage. New generation photovoltaic. Modelling of processes and technologies.
- Technologies for hydrogen production and storage, eco-friendly energy vectors and CO2 recycling
Electrochemical conversion of renewables into hydrogen and alternative fuels, electrolysis, co-electrolysis, photo-electrolysis. Hydrogen storage systems. CO2 conversion into alternative fuels through heterogeneous catalysis. Polymeric and catalytic systems for gases purification processes. By-products and bio-products transformation into eco-friendly energy vectors. Synthetic fuels. Management and valorisation of biomasses. Power to gas technologies (methanation).
- Integrated systems and technologies application for energy efficiency – Smart Energy Technologies
Renewables sources exploitation and integration. Fuel cell-based systems. Electrochemical storage systems. Systems for hydrogen production and storage. Energy Management Systems. Hybrid systems. Smart Buildings. Vehicle to Grid (V2G). Smart and Micro Grids. Smart Cities and Mobility. Smart Districts. District Heating and Cooling. Analysis, development and validation of systems for thermal energy conversion, transport and storage in residential, commercial and industrial fields for stationary and mobile applications. Design and management of electrical systems integrating distributed storage technologies. Development of communication and management protocols for connected micro-grids, integrating storage and renewables production, both from distribution system operator (DSO) and prosumer side. Development of off-grid micro-grids with a low environmental impact.
- Socio-economic and environmental impact of energy technologies
Economic, environmental and social sustainability of energy technologies. Development of socio-economic models, Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of energy technologies. Analysis of the consumers energy behaviour regarding the acceptance of innovative energy technologies.
Besides the research and development activities, ITAE carries out technological transfer activities towards industry, training and dissemination activities, supporting National and European bodies for the definition of new standards in the energy sector.