Gävle University is part of a very large EU environmental project for increasing renewables in buildings

When the EU, through its research program Horizon 2020, invests SEK 50 million to reduce the use of fossil fuels, in a project involving eight countries in Europe, Gävle University is the only university in Sweden with its top research in the solar energy sector. The project name is RES4Build.

Figure: An installation of 20 PVT collectors from Solarus at Gävle University (HiG)

Gävle University in Front
Horizon 2020 is a clean energy program with the goal of replacing fossil fuels. The intention is to build an energy system for buildings based on an advanced new type of heat pump while using a unique PVT solar collector that provides both electricity and heat. This is the EU’s largest research and innovation program and a receipt for maintaining high quality says Ulf Larsson, PhD in energy systems at Gävle University. This program is at the forefront of development.

A Unique Solar System
This solar system uses a PVT collector that combines solar cell with thermal receivers into one. “The PVT collector, which we jointly have been developing for the last 15 years, and which Solarus now produces, is unique as it provides both electricity and heat at the same time. The point is that you get more energy per solar cell, says Björn O Karlsson, Professor Emeritus in Energy Systems, and a developer of solar collector PVT collectors from the beginning.

Figure: The Solarus Hybrid solar collector that produces heat and electricity

Intelligent housing where you can chose your energy source
This project will make housing house more intelligent, through which citizens can choose which source of energy and when, for example, they will charge their electric car. “This is the future where you involve the citizens in an active choice via a panel at home and where the user can directly see what different choices are costly in environmental impact,” says Ulf Larsson

Figure: Set-up for the RES4build project

Immense Potential
A small part of Sweden’s energy needs today come from solar energy. Nevertheless, solar energy is actually the only way to produce electricity and heat locally in a property. A city is usually “dead” and all electricity and heat comes from outside. Wind power is not possible, and for environmental reasons it is not preferable. Solar technology is the only way to produce energy locally in a city or in a house.

“The potential is, of course, enormous and for us it is important that our solar activities be noted both in terms of research and education,” says Björn Karlsson.

Figure: Testing of the Solarus Collector at the HiG Solar Laboratory

REESBE and Solarus
Forskarskolan REESBE (Resource-Effective Energy System in the Built Environment) is a business-oriented research program ran by the University of Gävle in cooperation with Mälardalen University and Dalarna University. The university currently has 20 industrial graduates enrolled in REESBE. Solarus, which produces the solar collector hybrid, is a spin-off from Vattenfall, which has since developed the PVT solar collector. Through the doctoral student Joao Gomes, the company is collaborating with the University and Björn O Karlsson is the principal supervisor of Joao Gomes. “Solarus is also part of the EU program and industry graduate João Gomes is employed by the Solarus. Through the PhD student, the company researches in cooperation with the University”, says Ulf Larsson.

Eureka Eurostars 2.7 Million Euro Project
The RES4build project comes in line with a previous project awarded to HiG and Solarus: The EU Eureka Eurostars. It is a consortium of 7 companies and research entities from 4 European countries. This project aims at tackling the issues of mass producing a new design as well as finalizing the design of the Solarus hybrid, which requires collector testing, raytracing and many other activities. One PhD student (Diogo Cabral) was hired at HiG to conduct these tasks for HiG under the supervision of professor Björn Karlsson.

The Eureka project was written by João Gomes.

Figure: The Solarus Hybrid solar collector that produces heat and electricity


Original text (Swedish) was published in the media of the University of Gävle


For more information, contact:
Björn O Karlsson, professor emeritus in energy technology at the University of Gävle
Tel: 076-286 52 49
E-post: tomas.kallquist@hig.se

Ulf Larsson, PhD in energy systems and leader of Department of Building and Environmental Engineering at Gävle University.
Tel: 070-648 79 23
E-post: ulf.larsson@hig.se

João Gomes, Industrial PhD at Gävle University and Research Director at Solarus Supower Sweden AB.
Tel: 070-509 47 35
E-post: Joao.Santos.Gomes@hig.se