Chemical and Photovoltaic Energy

Research programme is oriented mainly to the research and development of both electrochemical and photovoltaic current sources with the principal focus on an increase of their efficiency, reliability and lifetime. In the field of the electrochemical power sources, parameters of new systems are verified together with a specification of technical parameters of testing and production facilities, such as potentiostat units for measurement of electrochemical processes, sputtering devices for depositing thin films, systems for measurement and cycling of electrochemical sources. Research of photovoltaic power sources is focused on development and optimization of diagnostic methods for quality assessment of photovoltaic cells, panels and systems.

Renewable energy sources (RES) have become an essential part of the energy mix. Considering the fact that the European Union claimed to produce 20 % of energy from these sources by 2020 (now only 8 % in the Czech Republic and to be increased to 13 % by 2020), the amount of energy of renewable sources will be going up. All renewable energy sources are sources with unstable output, poor prediction of output development and non-existent model behaviour of renewable sources in emergency situations (such information was provided by official representatives at the Photovoltaic Forum 2010). This results in local networks overloading and changes of power flow, non-stability of the system up to a complete disintegration of the network (so called blackout) with all its catastrophic consequences. A solution is to accumulate generated electric energy in another form of energy. A partial objective of this research programme is research and development of electrochemical accumulation systems and short- and long-term storage of electric energy as well as systems of electrochemical sources for mobiles phones and other applications.

In photovoltaic (FV) systems, direct conversion of solar energy into electrical energy is possible without mobile mechanical parts. The main advantage of a photovoltaic system over technical solar stations is the fact that energy is generated also from the diffusion component of solar radiation and therefore can be used in regions with fewer sunny days, like in the Czech Republic. The installed output of photovoltaic power stations worldwide by 2012 reached 32.6 GWp. In the photovoltaic boom in the Czech Republic from 2004 to 2011, 1800 MWp photovoltaic systems were connected to the distribution network. The worldwide boom and the boom in the Czech Republic and increased demand for photovoltaic systems resulted in decreased cost. However, the price and efficiency of the systems depends on further innovations and inventions which can reveal a new potential in this field. That is why this partial objective is centred on diagnostic methods that could reveal defects and faults of photovoltaic components, and on thin-film technologies that might increase the efficiency and effectiveness of solar photovoltaic systems.

Main research activities