As an ambitious cross-disciplinary platform for the development and demonstration of sustainable energy technology and management, SUSEPT aims to facilitate collaborative research both within and beyond the UT, as well as to display our commitment to this societal issue with showcase results of novel technological solutions.
IMPACT, as an institute devoted to Energy, Materials and Systems, will coordinate the efforts to come to a broader Sustainable Energy Platform in discussion with colleagues and partners.
Initial development of this research program is visualized as an on-campus demonstrator project in which wind-, solar- and biomass energy is harvested, part of which is buffered during daytime and used to illuminate the new facade of our university with spotlights after dark. Key components would be realized with new technology developed at the UT (e.g. biomass conversion, superconducting systems and hydrogen technology).
It is generally accepted that over the coming decades the growing global energy demand will increasingly be met by a mix of sustainable sources and that many of these sources will be distributed and variable. The terms ‘mix’, ‘distributed’ and ‘variable’ illustrate that not only the generation of energy, but also its distribution, storage and conversion are areas that need to be addressed with innovative approaches.
The University of Twente is excellently placed to play a leading role in this development. Sustainable Energy is one of the research areas targeted for closer collaborations in the 3TU framework, while in its ROUTE14 blueprint the UT is committing itself to strengthening activities in this field. Already, IMPACT and other institutes are devoting a sizeable part of their multidisciplinary research potential to the sustainable energy theme.
Goals and Societal Impact
In the spirit of ROUTE 14, SUSEPT will create a cross-disciplinary research environment for technical and societal development of Sustainable Energy. SUSEPT is both a program platform and a Levend Laboratorium demonstrator project. The various demonstrator modules are scaled-down versions of future energy systems that use cutting-edge technological solutions for sustainable energy generation, storage, distribution and conversion. As a program, SUSEPT also addresses integration and management issues.
SUSEPT will evolve continuously to initiate new research lines and include newly developed results. By offering simultaneously a physical site, logistical support and S&T expertise, the UT strengthens its attractiveness in R&D partnerships. The realization of a specific module can serve as focus for new collaborations, while SUSEPTs demonstrator character is used to facilitate the start-up of kick-off companies. In terms of public partnerships our sister TU’s obviously come to mind, but also institutes such as ECN or larger consortia in European Framework programs. Private collaboration can range from the dedicated participation of SMEs to the structural involvement of large companies concerned with production (e.g. Shell), utilization (e.g. Essent) or technology (e.g. Philips).
The demonstrator function of SUSEPT is to clearly exhibit sustainable energy activities at the UT and to increase public awareness. Visibility is guaranteed by the prominent display and use of its technological components. Additionally, a central SUSEPT demonstrator control facility can be created with an adjoining visitor / exhibition center that is accessible for school visits, guests and the public at large. One could likewise consider a dedicated auditorium for colloquia, conferences and summer schools, but also for teaching programs on sustainable energy technology and management within the UT and in a 3TU frame.
On different locations, solar cells, wind and biomass are used to produce both hydrogen and electricity. The hydrogen is liquefied and used as a chemical buffer but also pumped as coolant in a superconducting cable duct, thus simultaneously realizing efficient transport of electric and chemical energy. At the utilization side, the liquid hydrogen is stored in a cryogenic tank constructed with new composite materials and later converted into electricity with an efficient combustion engine that drives a superconducting generator. Evaporation of the liquid hydrogen runs via a heat engine such that energy used in the liquefaction process is recovered. The liquid-hydrogen tank also contains a SMES system that buffers the electrical energy. Part of the liquid hydrogen is used to fuel a vehicle that transports visitors to and on the campus.
Given the commitment of participating partners SUSEPTs initial configuration can be realized within a time-frame of three to four years, in parallel with the planned physical expansion of the ROUTE14 Kennispark. Technology development is accompanied by the development of an educational program and studies of societal impact.