Research Centre for Energy
The illwerke vkw Professorship
for Energy Efficiency carries out a range of research and educational activities in energy related areas. It serves as a key contact for energy research in the state of Vorarlberg.
In our research we focus on renewable energy technologies and efficient energy use. We are particularly interested in
- the dynamics of energy systems,
- and thermal systems.
Dynamics of Renewable Energy Systems
Renewable energy is key to a sustainable energy future. In recent years, renewables, in particular solar and wind, have received an unprecedented boost due to dwindling fossil resources, worries about climate change and nuclear safety, as well as a range of legislatory measures. With their distributed and transient nature, sun and wind energy pose tremendous challenges for the existing, primarily fossil-based, energy system. By understanding and controlling the dynamics of energy systems we can address many of these challenges and hence increase the renewable portion in the energy mix.
Almost all energy systems feature a multitude of length and time scales. E.g., in combustion the physical and chemical processes relevant to the chemical kinetics occur on the molecular scale, while macroscopic transport processes may involve length-scales of many meters. Similarly, in the electricity grid, individual user components may only be a couple of cm in size while electricity grids span whole continents. Dealing with systems involving multiple scales is notoriously difficult. We use a range of numerical and analytical techniques to address these issues.
Thermal Energy Processes
The vast majority of the primary energy carriers are converted thermally. A significant portion is used as process heat and for space heating, the bulk of the rest goes through a thermal process at some point of the value chain, e.g. the chemical energy in petroleum is converted to mechanical work through a thermal process in an internal combustion engine. We are particularly interested in the dynamic modeling of thermal systems and in thermal systems involving multi-scaling. Potential applications range from biomass combustion to novel and innovative applications such as the solar thermochemical production of fuels.
EUREM - European Energy Manager
The Professorship is responsible for the scientific coordination of the EUREM course held at Schloss Hofen and FHV. The course enables participants to identify energy conservation potentials and implement energy efficiency improvements, it is particularly geared towards industrial and professional environments. The course consists of 200 hours of coursework including about 100 hours of classes held by the foremost experts in the respective fields as well as a large project to be conducted at the participant's employer. The course has been made possible through a joint effort of the state of Vorarlberg, the Vorarlberg and Austrian Chambers of Commerce, illwerke vkw, the Energieinstitut Vorarlberg, FHV, and Schoss Hofen. The next round will start in fall 2012.
MS in Renewable Energy Engineering
We are currently developing a Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering. The program is currently scheduled to be launched in 2013.