Issue #26 / December 2016


StartUp' & Mines

What if you had only one week to create your startup and to become a pro in Business models?

That is what the Post-Master students at Mines ParisTech accomplished during the special week “StartUp’ & Mines”. The goal was to inspire students with entrepreneurship by offering them a full week (8am until as late as required) dedicated to coming up with a startup business plan. At the end of the week, we presented our project in front of a panel made of real business angels, CEOs and incubator managers and asked: would you invest in this project?
To reach this goal, the week was divided into actual business courses, team-building games, testimonials of successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs experiences, team workshops in order to prepare the final presentation and more. There was even Qi Gong session to relax, first thing in the morning !
The Master ENR students were split in 10 teams amongst other MinesParistech Post-Master and PhD students, and each team were given a business idea related to real projects. For instance : an advanced predictive and connected controller for solar systems or the sizing of greenhouses equipped with semi-transparent photovoltaic modules.

On the last day, the 10 teams presented their new business ventures to the esteemed panel  acting as business angels looking for good opportunities to invest. The panel had a hard time deciding between all the project and eventually rewarded 4 teams!

SESyM students at the European Parliament

On 15 and 16 November, the SESyM Master students organised a lunch debate during the European Innovation Summit at European Parliament in Brussels.

Sustainable energy is one of the important elements on the agenda of the European Parliament. In our opinion, there is no such a thing as talking about innovation and the future without mentioning sustainability, renewable energy and energy transition. SESyM students witnessed this fact by  themselves during the 8th Innovation Summit in the European Parliament.

The debate about Energy Transition was hosted by the European Parliament in cooperation with Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Any summit visitors could join the lunch debate and discuss about energy and the future with the master students. Prior to the debate, guests were invited to play the Energy Game, where the four pillars of Energy Transition were addressed, namely People, Planet, Profit and Balance.

It was exciting that the debate was happening among people with different backgrounds and positions in Europe such as European Parliament members, industry representatives, scientists and students. Also, the age difference created nice conversation among generations on how to solve the big energy question and maintain good life conditions for next generations. Some suggestions were rather more radical than the others. For instance, the importance of the development of private funding in European Union and entrepreneurship culture was discussed, but also the world population growth challenge and recent political developments in the world such as Euroscepticism and the elections in the USA.

It was amazing that in a centralized institution as the European Parliament, where many solutions follow a top-down strategy, the need for a bottom-up approach of communities and decentralized energy systems was discussed as a solution. Another important question in the discussion was: how to achieve the European Climate goals and why is the process of changing taking so slowly?

Overall, we, as master students, enjoyed the dialogue very much. We consider this type of debate a necessity to find solutions for the energy transition, since it involves all types of actors of the Triple Helix, where knowledge loopholes are created and original ideas are born.
Tatiana Ivanciuc & Cinta Peerdeman

Commonity workshop

To rehabilitate from our fossil fuel addiction many sustainable techniques are available. Over the past decades a lot of attention is placed on improvement of renewable energy technologies like wind power, solar power and biomass. The modern wind turbines and solar panels are so well engineered that it could replace fossil fueled energy for a better price. Both the financial- as well as the energy payback time of these renewable techniques fall well within its lifetime. Exploiting these green energy sources will help us to limit global warming, create jobs, eases political tension between nations and is even cheaper than fossil fueled energy. Despite all these advantages, the implementation of these technologies in society goes very slow.
The reason for the slow energy transition are the people. Generally not a lot of attention is given to shareholders and the social aspect. The impact of most renewable energy systems are not well perceived because of its looks, noises, sounds or safety concerns. Yet, in Denmark an entire community embraces wind turbines, biomass installations and solar power plants. Samsø island’s electricity consumption is now 100% independent from the mainland. How did they do it?
As example for scientists, policy makers, entrepreneurs and students the Hanze University of applied sciences organized a two-day session with Søren Hermansen, the mastermind behind the energy transition on Samsø Island. In a lecture on October 4th he explained how every citizen on Samsø island was willing to accept and even invest in this transformation. He was able to change both the commons and the community - characterized in his book as ‘commonities’ - to motivate people to step out of their comfort zone and encounter the challenges involved in this radical movement. The workshop that followed the next day focussed on the approach towards shareholders. How do you engage people, consider their interests and concerns? Mr. Hermansen instinctively has strong social skills and was able to explain how his approach ensured that people were open for new ideas and changes in their daily life. The ability to connect people with projects, engage and make them proud shareholders is the secret to a successful energy transition.
The two-day event was a very valuable addition to the curriculum of the ‘European Master in Sustainable Energy System Management’. In addition to the ‘European Master in Renewable Energy’, that focuses mainly on the technical aspect, the SESyM master focuses more on social, finance and management aspects. Søren Hermansen underlines the importance that introducing renewable energy into society demands integration of all these aspects. The fact that a Nobel prize winner like Søren Hermansen is able to share his expertise as a lecturer at the Hanze shows that this knowledge, given in these master programs, is very important and in line with the present-day challenges that are faced in the energy transition.

To watch the video of SESYM Lecture by Prof. Sören Hermansen, please click here


Steffen Walvius
MSc candidate Sustainable Energy Systems Management

Best projects 2015 from Loughborough University: Daniel Petcovic and Karthik Yenduru

Daniel Petcovic - Efficiency Profiling, of Differing Seal and Piston Combinations in Relation to the WaveSpring Phase Control of a Point Absorber Type Wave Energy Converter

My EUREC project was part of a larger research effort by CorPower Ocean, a Swedish wave energy developer, to optimize several aspects of their wave energy technology while rig testing at the 1:3 scale at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Prior to this effort CorPower Ocean had investigated several options for phase control of their patented technology.  This research led them to the WaveSpring inherent resonance phase control, which employs a pneumatic -based negative spring effect to achieve and maintain resonance with incoming waves of a wide range of periods and directions.  Resonant phase control is a vital aspect of the point absorber type wave energy converter; by matching the timing of the characteristic buoyancy of the device to the timing of the incoming waves, the device is naturally moving upwards at the same time each wave applies a lift force to the device and similarly the device naturally wants to recover to lower state of buoyancy as the wave lift force is removed.  This effect greatly amplifies the linear motion of the wave energy converter, and therefore greatly increases the energy output.

The use of pneumatics for this phase control system introduces the potential for efficiency losses in friction both within the pneumatic cylinder seals, and in friction between the air moving in the cylinder body and hoses and piping.  While this friction lost as heat is minimal, the consistent nature of wave motion creates a need for this system to operate tens of millions of times over the course of a twenty-year lifetime, meaning that even a small efficiency loss can have a significant effect of overall performance.

As a direct result of this EUREC project, metrics were developed indicating efficiency losses per seal length and air travel distance, which then allowed for detailed modelling and collaboration with cylinder manufacturers to develop an optimized cylinder and pneumatic design which is currently being tested and implemented in a half scale prototype scheduled for testing in 2017.

Upon completion of this project, Daniel accepted a role with CorPower Ocean as the Program Manager for the ocean testing of the half scale wave energy converter.  This test device is currently undergoing sub-system testing and assembly, and is planned to start whole system dry rig testing in early 2017 prior to being transported to the EMEC scaled test site in the Orkney Islands of Scotland for ocean testing in 2017 and early 2018.  Overlapping this test period, CorPower Ocean anticipates a full-scale pilot program in 2018-2019, providing the potential for commercial scale development and deployments as early as 2020.


Karthik Yenduru - Preliminary design of SrCO3/SrO Solar Thermochemical Energy Storage Subsystem– Oregon State University, USA

With a background in chemical and environmental engineering, energy storage has been a passion of mine.  My specialisation semester in France at the PROMES Laboratory was uniquely suited to endow the basis of solar thermal energy storage and much more.  I had applied to numerous internships related to solar energy storage and thermochemical energy storage.  I found an opportunity at Oregon State University (USA) in the chemical engineering program as a visiting researcher.

The research project was initial funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for long term energy storage.  The main focus of the project was to develop a theoretical model/schematic for energy storage using SrCO3-SrO reaction cycle.  My contribution to the project was related to development of the physical reaction process (e.g. solar rotary kiln, fluidized bed reactor) and the economic feasibility.  Since the project had no engineering basis, I had started with research of other processes that utilized solar energy to decompose chemical substance(s).

There were two constrains imposed on the project which the engineering design must satisfy—800 MWhth energy storage system for 8-hrs and overall subsystem cost of $15/kWhth (US DOE target).  The design I proposed makes use of a solar rotary kiln for the forward reaction and a fluidized bed reactor for the reverse reaction.  The CO2 produced from the forward reaction is stored in either an ionic liquid or activated carbon.  Furthermore, the system uses a heat exchanger to cool the superheated CO2 for proper storage and heat is carried via a heat-transfer fluid to a combined cycle gas turbine to generate electrical energy.  Similar mechanism was proposed for the reverse reaction to harness the thermal and sensible energy during off-sun periods.

I had found this experience valuable and interesting because it continued to solidify my technical specialization and background in chemical engineering.  I had first-hand experience in difficulties of developing a design and having the design work from an engineering standpoint.  The design I had presented was simply a proof-of-concept and in no way complete.  I was able to derive equations that account for uncertainties to achieve 800 MWhth storage but lowering the overall cost is still a wok in progress.  The storage of CO2 is still a challenge that will have to be solved for feasible of thermochemical systems that involve carbonate chemistry.

Presentation Days 2016

The Presentation Days will take place on 13 and 14 December 2016 at the Hotel Bloom, rue Royale 250, 1210 Brussels (metro Botanique).
During these two days, the students from the academic year 2015-2016 will present their Master thesis. The second day of presentations will be followed by a cocktail reception.
You will find the Presentations Days detailed agenda here.
Looking forward to seeing you!

Job ads

SOLAR-TRAIN invites applications for 14 fellowships funded as part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks (ITN) under the European Commission’s H2020 Framework Programme. The successful candidates will be hosted at leading international research centres and companies starting in March 2017. They will contribute to the project "Photovoltaic module life time forecast and evaluation" as early stage researchers (ESRs) with the possibility to write a PhD thesis. 
Positions are open to candidates holding a higher degree in natural and technical sciences, meeting the general requirements of the programme and the specific requirements stated in the individual openings.
For information on the research topics and application process, please follow this link
Deadline to apply 11 December 2016

To find more job and internship positions, visit the job ads section of the website
and follow us on Twitter!

If you want to publish an ad, please send it to Nathalie Richet


Starting Day

EUREC hold the Masters Starting Day on 7th October at Hotel Bloom in Brussels. We counted 75 participants and speakers.
The one-day session included the EUREC Awards ceremony, presentations of the different specialisations and a ‘Coffee corner’ for teachers to answer questions of the newcomers. This event is critical for students to choose their future specialisations. Therefore, this year it was decided to introduce a Coffee Corner in order to facilitate a frank exchange of views with between students and teachers
We had the pleasure of counting with former students, Thierry Ha and Habib Rahme, who shared their views and advice to make the best of the Masters’ experience.
The day ended up with a cocktail reception to wish a nice Academic year to all students and professors
You will find below a selection of pictures of the Starting Day and a video of the SESyM Specialisations 2016

Click here to watch the video
Alumni Forum presentations

On Saturday 8th October, EUREC had the pleasure to participate to the 8th edition of the EUREC Alumni Forum. This event is organised every year by the Alumni with the support of EUREC and WindVision. Once more, the Alumni chose the magic space offered by ‘Le Cercle the Voyageurs’, located in the historical centre of Brussels.

Every edition of the EUREC Alumni Forum is an excellent opportunity to network and share knowledge on the renewable energy sector and the proof is that the 8th Alumni Forum counted the highest participation of all the Alumni Forum editions. Bravo and thanks to the Alumni for all your engagement!
Some of the presentations of the 8th Alumni Forum are available here
Masters agenda

European Master
in Renewable Energy
Academic Year 2015/2016
  • Dec. 13th/14th: Presentation Days in Brussels
Academic Year 2016/2017
  • Jan. 16th: Starting Day for the PV specialisation
  • Feb. 6th: Starting Day for the Grid Integration and Sustainable Fuels specialisations
  • Feb. 13th: Starting Day for the Wind and Solar Thermal specialisations
  • Feb 20th: Starting Day for the Ocean energy specialisation

European Master in Sustainable Energy System Management

Academic Year 2015/2016
  • Dec. 14th: Presentation Day in Brussels
Academic Year 2016/2017
  • Feb. 6th: Starting Day of the two specialisations, Sustainable Energy Management in Zaragoza University and System Implementation and Optimization in Hanze UAS
Upcoming events
 Issue 27: March 2017 - Deadline for contributions: March 15th
For any suggestion or contribution to our newsletter, please contact
Nathalie Richet
EUREC - The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres
Place du Champ de Mars 2, 1050 Brussels
Copyright © 2011-16 EUREC E.E.I.G.

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