Liten is a major European research institute and a driving force behind the development of the sustainable energy technologies of the future. The institute is spearheading the EU’s efforts to limit dependency on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in three key areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency/storage and development of materials.
Our platforms, sophisticated tools for industry & the scientific/technical infrastructure/expertise to overcome technological hurdles
Liten's research teams work across a vast portfolio of renewable energy technologies. Cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies are developed at INES, the French National centre for solar research and R&D with Hydrogen and Biomass activities being managed from the LITEN's main site in Grenoble, Rhone-Alpes.
“Radically improving energy efficiency will reduce the need for investment in energy infrastructure, cut fuel costs, increase competitiveness, lessen exposure to fuel price volatility, increase energy affordability for low-income households and cut local and global pollutants improving consumer welfare” Source OECD Energy report, 2014
From nanosecurity, nanocharacterisation,and anti-counterfeiting technology to the development of advanced materials and point of sale: a comprehensive offering.
Transverse activities help add value to our technology portfolio. An optimised modeling and characterisation model, for example, can help reduce time to market. Browse this section to find out more....
Article | Energy efficiency | Renewable energies | Environment
Managing heat to keep energy consumption down
At Liten, we have been investigating energy efficiency for industrial processes for 35 years, with a specific focus on how heat can be managed to lower energy consumption by:
reducing the amount of energy initially injected into each process,
using techniques like waste-heat recovery to ensure that all the energy injected into each process is used, or
introducing renewable resources.
We develop innovative energy-efficiency technologies for industrial processes and also provide consulting services for targeted improvements. Our tech development and consulting services can be used separately or together. Both are backed by Liten’s legendary know-how in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, chemistry, and simulation, plus hands-on experience building and implementing prototypes and demonstrator systems.
Reduced environmental impact and cost
Reduced consumption of electricity and fossil-based energy
More efficient systems
Lower operating costs
Better equipment performance
Here are a few examples of technologies developed at Liten:
This solar collector system is based on a technology patented by the CEA and is designed for heat networks and low-temperature (80°C to 120°C) industrial processes. The system’s heat pipes were developed in conjunction with startup SAED and transferred to heating specialist Viessmann. It offers the advantage of being easy to install (the heat-transfer fluid does not enter the receiver tube; the different components are simply assembled and the system is ready to operate) and cost-effective (there are no mirrors like in Fresnel-type concentrators). Fresnel-type concentrators can, however, be used for renewable heat production for industrial processes requiring higher temperatures.
Our researchers have designed a water-ammonia absorption refrigeration unit to recycle thermal solar panel waste heat into building air conditioning. The system is now being developed at larger capacities (100 kW to 1 MW) with the goal of recovering low-temperature (80°C) waste heat for industrial cooling (around 0°C). It uses ten times less electricity than traditional evaporative cooling via mechanical vapor compression, and three to four times less ammonia than the technologies currently available on the market. The system is in use at Ines (the French national solar energy institute) to provide air conditioning for offices, and is ready for market release. A partnership agreement with a manufacturer for high-power (100 kW and up) rollout is on the drawing board.
There are many chemical reactions (either exothermic or endothermic) that require or release heat when the reagents are at a given temperature. For the past several years, our researchers have been developing a new technology to produce these reactions continuously inside a heat exchanger. This would make it possible to either inject or disperse heat as needed. This HEX reactor research has resulted in the development of a system specifically for power-to-gas electricity storage: waste carbon dioxide from industrial processes is combined with hydrogen and converted into methane gas. A small industrial-scale prototype will be built and tested in the coming years. This type of equipment is much more compact than the technologies currently in use, making them an attractive alternative in terms of cost.
Our science and technology research includes:
For several years, we have been using lab experiments and simulation to investigate how solid particles are deposited onto heat-exchanger components in industrial processes. The purpose of this research, in part conducted by PhD candidates, is to understand the phenomena that underpin fouling; these insights will help to predict fouling and develop appropriate solutions, from selecting the right equipment to adjusting operating conditions. Fouling can generate costs that far exceed the savings recycling waste heat can bring, so finding ways to prevent it is crucial. We are currently working with Total on a specific case (oil & gas industry process fluids) using experimental equipment built for this purpose in Grenoble.
At Liten, we provide simulations and build experimental equipment that can be used to research different cooling technologies. These help ensure equipment for which adding or removing heat is fundamental will operate as intended. Some examples are electronic equipment—LEDs, circuit boards, EV battery packs—where, due to increased miniaturization, cooling can raise challenges.
We also conduct early-stage research, either as part of Liten’s own research programs or as part of PhD research projects conducted in partnership with businesses. Topics include:
Around 20 researchers
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CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.