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A three-pronged approach to strategic research

Strategy: Energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced materials

Published on 15 October 2015

​Our R&D addresses technological and economic challenges in three main areas:

  • Renewable energy, especially solar and biomass

The world renowned INES research institute, based in Chambery, plays a pivotal role in advancing our solar research strategy.  Our research teams investigate all aspects of solar photovoltaic energy –materials, cells, modules, systems, electricity storage, demonstrations and diagnostic testing. The institute’s scientists are currently studying methods for producing solar grade silicon, increasing the efficiency of solar cells at low cost and developing storage systems  required for these and other intermittent energy sources required for electrical grids amongst many other exciting technological projects. The optimization of complex energy systems including renewables energy sources is also being investigated through simulation tools in order to help ensure a  balance between energy production and consumption.

In the field of solar thermal energy, R&D is being carried out to determine how this energy can work in conjunction with biomass and other energy sources and to determine how existing products/systems can be optimised. Other research fields include the development of combined systems (hot water and heating) and solar climate control. Building-integrated solar energy and the active management of combined thermal and electrical sources are also major research streams and a major objective is to develop innovative technologies and their management leading to  “positive energy” buildings that produce more energy than they consume.In the field of Biomass, and in accordance with EU objectives, France has set itself the target of increasing its quota of renewable energy to 32%  of its overall energy mix by 2030.

In order to achieve this ambitious target Liten is developing R&D programs centered on building an industrial production process that will meet market demands, both in technological and economic terms. The development of biomass technologies has huge socio-economic potential by providing important new fuel sources to industry and also stimulating the local economies of rural territories. In strategic terms, key areas of research include:

  1. Development of production processes for biomass derived liquid fuels and gases
  2. Develop production processes at different scales, from small-scale production for local needs to full industrial capacity production
  • Energy efficiency: making the most of our energy supplies

Developing new, efficient, sustainable forms of energy is only part of the story. Equally as important is the development of new technology that will help reduce the energy consumed in industrial processes, consumer products, on the road and in the home.  Liten is actively carrying out research in a wide range of highly diverse technological areas including:

  • New, energy efficient, printed electronics processes offering high-added value to the end-user
  • Energy harvesting systems that recycle wasted heat into valuable electrical energy
  • Energy efficient buildings that will reduce wastage and improve life quality
  • Power generation systems (from production and storage through to conversion and smart management of thermal energy, electricity, and gas – especially hydrogen)

Moreover by fostering electro-mobility technology solutions, Liten intends to help lower CO2 emissions and limit dependency on fossil fuels.

  • Materials by Design: A driver for competitive advantage

At Liten, we carry out targeted R&D to improve the performance of materials used in energy and organic electronics applications. Our researchers develop novel solutions when no standard materials are available for a specific need or to mitigate future supply issues such as cost concerns, geopolitical instability or regulatory changes that are plaguing materials such as rare earth materials indium, gallium lead and solvents. We leverage multi-material systems capable of meeting complex specifications along with nanostructuring techniques able to significantly change a material's properties like its melting point and the nature and kinetics of associated chemical reactions. A subtle change at the molecular level of a raw material can sometimes have an exponential impact on an industrial process or the end-user experience of a finished product. In this sense, the development of novel, customized and highly functional materials can be seen as a key driver of competitive advantage for industry.

A three-pronged strategy

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
  • Advanced materials