To achieve the strategic objectives pursued by IMDEA Energy Institute and looking for a sustainable energy system, the different capacities and know-how gathered by the research groups are coordinated by the following Research Units covering the fields of biology, catalysis, power conversion, solar energy and system analysis:
- Unit of thermo/chemical processes. The lines of research of this unit focuses on the development of catalytic processes for more sustainable biofuel production, the valorization of CO2, and the generation of hydrogen mainly using renewable energy sources. In addition, the development of new more efficient materials for the thermochemical energy storage at low and high temperature is being approached.
- Unit of electrochemical processes. This unit is performing research and development of high-efficiency electrochemical energy storage devices, mainly for coupling them with renewable energy sources and for sustainable transport. The main goal of the unit is to keep a good balance between fundamental and applied research in a way that, in first place, the knowledge can be generated, and that it can afterwards be transferred to the industry.
- Joined Unit (CIEMAT - IMDEA Energy Institute) on Biotechnological processes for energy production. This unit is essentially devoted to the development of novel processes for biofuels productions. Likewise, the unit focusses on isolation and characterization of microorganisms and enzymatic complexes for the bioconversion of lignocellulosic substrates in biofuels, biofuel and added-value compounds using microalgae as substrates and genetic modification of metabolic pathways in hydrolytic and fermentative microorganisms for the optimization of biofuel production.
- Unit of high-temperature processes. This unit is largely focused in the development of modular, efficient and dispatchable solar concentrating technologies for power generation, industrial process heat and production of solar fuels and chemicals. Special emphasis is given to R&D on solar receivers and reactors with high-surface gas-solid heat exchange working at high irradiance; solar concentrators with high beam quality and capacity of integration in buildings and urban areas; innovative thermal energy storage components and devices; production of hydrogen and solar fuels and development of measurement and characterization techniques.
- Unit of electrical systems. The principal activity of this research unit is development of intelligent algorithms for management of electrical energy generation, distribution and demand. To achieve high flexibility and efficiency in energy systems the solutions are sought in integration of energy storage devices and renewable energy sources as well as in application of centralized and distributed control methods. Smart Homes, Smart Buildings, SmartGrids (Smart distribution electricity networks) and energy efficiency are commonly used to describe the research interests of the unit.
- Unit of system analysis. This unit is in charge of the global analysis of the different energy alternatives and problems, including technological-scientific aspects, but also economic, social, legal and environmental issues. These factors are very useful in determining the different energy alternatives to be finally applied, by introducing changes in the legal and tax policies in energy products.
- Unit of photoactivated processes. The main activity is the development of light-activated materials and processes for the production of sustainable fuels and other applications of interest in energy and environment. More precisely, our interest is focused on the development of devices and photoreactors, as well as in the design, synthesis and operando characterisation of multifunctional materials, based on organic (conjugated polymers), inorganic (band gap engineering) and hybrid (heterojunctions and organo-inorganic coordination polymers) semiconductors, with photocatalytic activity for the production of fuels (Artificial Photosynthesis) as a way for sustainable generation and storage of energy.
- Unit of advanced porous materials. The research activity of this unit is essentially focused in the development of multifunctional porous materials; in particular, porous coordination polymers and inorganic solids, for their applications in different social and industrial strategic fields (energy, environment, etc). The fundamental character of this topic is also exhaustively addressed in order to better understand and improve the structure and physicochemical properties of the developed materials.