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Published on 31 July 2020

Research Strategy

Climate change is here, and the energy transition is gaining traction. Liten creates innovative solutions that respond to these major societal challenges. 

The institute sharpened its focus on renewable energy production and, in particular, solar photovoltaic energy. Liten also has programs on renewable energy storage, conversion, and use. In terms of renewable energy production, Liten is mainly addressing very-high-yield photovoltaic technologies and the integration of solar energy solutions into structures of all kinds, from roads and buildings to vehicles.

New ways of using electricity are emerging and intermittent, distributed renewable energy is making inroads into our grids, creating additional challenges. Grid management must be more responsive. This will require smart grid technologies that leverage multiple tools. Liten works closely with fellow CEA Tech institutes List and Leti to help develop the components and software that will be used to observe grids in real time. Sensors will capture data, which must then be processed to ensure supply-side and demand-side management strategies that optimize energy flows. Grid flexibility (and stability) will depend on a clever combination of centralized energy storage (stationary batteries or high-temperature electrolyzers to convert surplus electricity into hydrogen), distributed energy storage (electric vehicle batteries), and management (converters and EMSs). Additional flexibility could be obtained by coupling electricity grids with gas and heat networks. This is another topic that Liten is actively investigating.

Liten's goal for all of its technologies is to transfer them to companies that can bring them to the market on a large scale, creating a whole set of additional requirements. A technology has to work, of course. But it must also be priced realistically to succeed in the marketplace. And that is not all. Today, any new product has to be sustainable. This means building a number of factors (such as the availability of resources and lifecycle analysis from manufacturing to use to recycling) into the very earliest stages of the design process. More energy-efficient, non-toxic processes must be developed. Materials must be used more economically (such as through additive manufacturing). Last, but not least, all new technologies and their applications must be designed with societal acceptance in mind.

Our Strategic research axes: