Research and Projects

Thanks to our research activity, the group has developed an in-depth experience in various fields characterized by a common denominator: environmental sustainability. Grounding on such renowned and consolidated expertise, the R2ES Lab group takes part in various national and international research projects on sustainable development, renewable energies, innovative materials/processes and emerging technologies.

Innovative photovoltaics

The development of new technologies requires an overall evaluation of the product environmental impacts and benefits. LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) is one of the most powerful methods that allow an in depth understanding of the potential of innovative technologies in terms of environmental sustainability and a comparison with other more mature and best-established technologies.

Dye Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC)

Also known as Grätzel cells, these particular photovoltaic devices mimic the process of chlorophyllian photosynthesis. In contrast to the traditional systems, the DSSCs do not have a semiconductor (such as silicon) that converts solar photons into electricity, but they are characterized by many different compounds. Each of these compounds has a specific function that allows the production of ‘photoelectric energy’. 

Perovskite Solar Cell (PSC)

Compared to other photosensitive materials, one of the most important advantages of perovskitesis the possibility to select the crystalline structure components, modulating some fundamental optical characteristics (such as the mobility of charges, the formation and transport of the electron pair and the band gap) during the early design stage of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). By modifying the raw materials employed, it is possible to fabricate many PSC module configurations, suitable for several final uses (i.e. BIPV).

Industrial processes

The development of innovative industrial processes requires an overall evaluation of the environmental footprints. LCA provides a powerful methodological tool for an in depth understanding of the potentials of manufacturing procedures in terms of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability allowing the comparison with more mature and best-established processes. The output of such an approach allows to characterize the hot spots and to highlight the opportunities for technical improvements of the whole production processes. The application of LCA and LCC (Life Cycle Costing) to several industrial processes, ranging from textile sector to the manufacturing of innovative products for the electricity distribution network, is one of the pillar of our research activity.

Computational Chemistry and Spectroscopy

Computational chemistry and Spectroscopy, applied both at the electronic structure and atomistic level, can provide valuable insights into the relevant processes and material properties for energy-related applications.

More information can be found at the ChiCoS Lab website »

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is a resource of natural and renewable energy and its exploitation in the Italian Tuscany Region contributes significantly to the regional share of electricity generation from renewable sources, with a value that has grown to about 35% in 2015. Energy produced by geothermal source, such as that produced by other energy sources, generates non-negligible impacts on the environment, closely related to the site-specificity of the source itself. Our research activity in this context is focused on the assessment of the eco- profile associated to the geothermal activity in Italy and the environmental performances of power plants. Such kind of analysis could be also very useful considering the planning phase of new plants, not only to have a more comprehensive view of the environmental load on a specific area, but also during the debate with the populations. In fact, the availability of clear data could be crucial to overcome social difficulties, allowing the development and optimization of the technologies for the geothermal energy exploitation.

R2ES LAB RELEVANT PROJECTS

  • PON Ricerca e Innovazione “SOLARGRID” 2018-2020 – Sistemi solari termodinamici e fotovoltaici con accumulo per co-generazione e flessibilità di rete (ongoing).
  • EU Project “GEOENVI” 2018-2021 – Tackling the environmental bottlenecks for deploying geothermal and renewable energy systems in Europe (ongoing).
  • EU Project “ESPRESSO” 2018-2021 – Efficient Structures and Processes for Reliable Perovskite Solar Modules (ongoing).
  • Department of Excellence 2018-2022 project “Development and application of QM/MM technologies for the design of light-responsive proteins or protein-mimics based on the rhodopsin architecture”, Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Siena (ongoing).
  • FAR-FAS 2014 project “SELFIE” – System of advanced multilayer elements based on surfaces and innovative nanostructured materials for a sustainable and energetically efficient building (ongoing).
  • POR CREO FSE 2010-2013 project “FOTOSENSORG” – Design, synthesis and applications of new organic sensitizers for non-conventional photovoltaic cells.

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