Thursday, 19 April 2012

New power for renewable energy

Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, has been recently called “the Czech Silicon Valley”. This city is home to scientific research and many of big technology companies in the country. The newly established Centre for Research and Utilization of Renewable Energy wants to take advantage of this new reality and connect industry with scientific research.

by Martin Maska 


Brno, the Czech Silicon Valley. Photo by Martin Maska.

The Centre for Research and Utilization of Renewable Energy (CVVOZE) is a research department of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication at the Brno University of Technology. It started being built on May 1, 2010 and should be operational early next year. The future research conducted by the CVVOZE will cover a wide spectrum of branches in the field of electrical engineering in connection with renewable energy sources and their efficient utilization in manufacturing, transportation and the energy industry. "The main specialization of our research centre will be above all applied research for industry, or in cooperation with industry. So, major outputs will be prototypes, patents and utility models,” says Prof. Dr. Vladimir Aubrecht, director of the CVVOZE.

The current methods of renewable energy use are often criticized. The public criticism is related to solar collectors because they are expensive and have little efficiency, and to wind energy plants, because they affect the landscape and are noisy. The Centre could provide new methods and devices to solve these problems. There is a possibility that it will be new energy for renewable energy. But what is the best way to achieve this goal?



Photo by Martin Maska.

Attract the industry 

According to its websites, the Centre for Research and Utilization of Renewable Energy aims to establish research capacities for solving the challenges of renewable energy resources, prepare highly qualified workers for the industry and strengthen cooperation between research and the industry. It would like to cooperate with some companies during the implementation of new environment-friendly techniques. Professor Aubrecht suppose, that laboratories´ equipment which the Centre currently buys at ca. 200 million Czech crowns (8,3 million Euros), will be interesting for companies which do business in the area of high-voltage electrical engineering, automation etc., above all in South Moravian region (north-east of the Czech Republic). "If these companies are interested in it and we find common topic, then we will surely cooperate with them. Our past surveys showed that the research centre should be viable and sustainable. But of course it doesn´t depend only on us. Big, multinational companies should finally realize that here, in the Czech Republic, they can find not only cheaper labour force, but highly creative and innovative environment as well,” says Prof. Vladimir Aubrecht.

First steps of the Centre

It can sound only like a dream or wishes, but the Centre already has had its first achievements, namely international ones. "We have already sold one software licence to the University of Zagreb, we provide contractual research for ABB Schweiz, Siemens Amberg and the like,” says prof. Aubrecht. The international dimension of the Centre lies also in the fact that it has been supported by the EU Operational programme Research and Development for Innovation FP7.

The whole centre is divided into three research divisions: “Electromechanical energy conversion”, “Chemical and photovoltaic energy”, and “Generation, transmission, distribution and use of electrical energy”. Each of them has its own laboratories and research team. The implementation of the Centre is performed with the help of four departments of Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication. 

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