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SOLCER Rigs Are Up and Running

Post date: February 10, 2014

SOLCER Rigs Are Up and Running

LCRI’s Smart Operation for a Low Carbon Energy Region (SOLCER) project is focusing on combining low carbon technologies into systems which include renewable energy supply to appropriate storage to efficient, reduced demand.

Over the last few months, each of the SOLCER work packages has been making strong progress, both with their research, and through developing and engaging with industry partners.

At the Centre for Solar Energy Research (CSER) in North Wales, the SOLCER team has been developing monolithically integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, to achieve micro-module PV cells. A monolithically integrated PV cell consists of a number of layers that are mechanically and electrically connected. SOLCER staff from Glyndŵr and Swansea Universities are collaborating to test the efficiency and reliability of these modules, which will be used to demonstrate the potential for thin film PV technology within a smart grid system.

The SOLCER team have also installed test rigs at various sites around Wales based on the system led approach. In the Optic Centre in Glyndŵr University, the team has designed and installed a DC lead system, consisting of an existing solar panel PV wall, a DC electricity supply, a battery bank, and LED lighting. The team are now testing and analysing the best way to make energy savings within a DC system. Staff from SOLCER’s Work packages 1 and 2 have collaborated with an industry partner, Links Electrical, who have provided an onsite electrician to help develop and install this system, as well as create a database to monitor the results.

Work packages 2 and 4 have developed a test rig at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff University. This system consists of a wind turbine and PV panels that connect up to a bank of batteries. These provide and store energy for LED tube lights, a Nettop PC, TV, fridge, desk lamp and laptop charger in an office in the Bute building. The battery bank is charged by 100% renewable energy, and meters have been installed at all interconnections to monitor performance.

LCRI’s Hydrogen project uses electrolysers to separate water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The SOLCER team have constructed 2 electrolyser rigs at the Hydrogen centre in Baglan. One is fed by a DC current from a standard solar PV array, and the other is fed by an AC current. Additional tests are being undertaken at the Baglan site, looking at hydrogen compression and gas storage systems, fuel cells, and an alternative electrolyser system. The team is also working with an industry partner, ITM Power, on the development of a prototype electrolyser.

Jo Patterson, SOLCER’s Project Manager said “These are just a few examples of the exciting work being carried out by the SOLCER team. It is fantastic opportunity to be able to combine the technologies and research developed by the LCRI projects so far and by monitoring the performance of the systems we aim to optimise the use of the energy generated from renewables by storing and using it as efficiently as possible to reduce costs and emissions.”

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