RENEWABLE ENERGIES AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY: THE OBJECTIVES OF THE EU

In recent years, energy consumption, resource depletion and atmospheric emissions have been increasing dramatically. All this makes the search for alternative solutions for energy production and the adoption of systems for the production of energy from renewable sources ever more urgent.

In addition, thanks to an increased public awareness on the environmental issues, several institutions are trying to implement macro actions to mitigate the devastating effects of these changes. The first measure adopted is the energy saving and the improvement of the efficiency of existing systems, while the second one is the search for alternative and sustainable energy sources. Thanks to the implementation of the above-mentioned measures, it will be possible to satisfy all human needs using only the amount of energy needed through the integration of renewable sources. In this direction, for years the European Union has been developing a long-term policy, including objectives up to 2050 that will be described later.

The development of less expensive and more attractive technologies on the market, which allow access to tax incentives, is a good way to promote the spread of renewable energies. Thus, over the years many companies have focused on the development of technologies for the use of renewable energy applied to the domestic environment, with the aim of saving on energy costs. Among the solutions designed for the buildings there are photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal and micro wind systems.

PRODUCE ELECTRICITY THROUGH PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY

The energy produced by photovoltaic is consumed on the spot, while the excess is fed into the public network. Energy consumption is clearly tied to the presence of solar radiation, but new strategies are trying to bypass the problem with storage solutions that allow using the energy produced even later.

These so-called storage systems make it possible to get closer to energy independence and are useful when the public network cannot perform its functions.

The prices of these solutions have decreased compared to the past, also favoured by some tax incentives. Even the market has adapted to the growing demand, favouring the integration of photovoltaic with the architecture of the buildings.

Questi cosiddetti sistemi di accumulo permettono di avvicinarsi all’indipendenza energetica e sono l’ideale per le situazioni in cui la rete pubblica non può svolgere le sue funzioni.

I prezzi di queste soluzioni sono diminuiti rispetto al passato, favoriti anche dagli incentivi fiscali. Lo stesso mercato si è adattato alla crescente richiesta, favorendo l’integrazione del fotovoltaico con l’architettura dell’edificio.

PRODUCING HOT WATER WITH SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY

For the production of hot water, solar thermal uses the energy of the sun by transferring the heat between a fluid that circulates inside the panel and the water used in the home plants, accumulated in a tank.

As an alternative, there is the thermodynamic solar, which combines the strengths of the heat pump and solar thermal, working all day, even without sun. In fact, this system exploits the heat transfer between the outside and a cooling fluid in the panel, the exact opposite of what happens in the refrigerator.

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PRODUCED BY THE EARTH

Even the earth can be a renewable energy source for the air conditioning of the residential buildings, thanks to the installation of geothermal heat pumps. The system consists of a heat pump and a set of pipes that branch out into the ground, transferring a heat transfer fluid that favours the exchange of heat with the subsoil. This exchange is exploited and allocated in the distribution system that, at a low temperature, maximizes the efficiency of the system.

In addition to geothermal energy, there are also air or water pumps which, respectively, are able to exploit the thermal energy of the external environment or of the groundwater for domestic heating purposes. The logic used is the same: the heat pump works like a refrigerating machine and allows the heating of the interiors. Obviously, the heat pumps are powered by electricity, so the efficiency of a building increases if the plant is combined with a photovoltaic system.

THE EOLIC ENERGY TO PRODUCE ELECTRICITY

The last solution for the production of energy from renewable sources is that of the domestic wind farm. The functioning of these small plants depends almost entirely on the characteristics of the wind where they are used. Furthermore, by installing a battery, it is possible to establish a connection with the local network.

THE FUTURE OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES

To achieve the objectives proposed during the Cop24, the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, and to guarantee the transition to a sustainable economy, all the countries must implement precise economic-political and industrial strategies. It will be also necessary to support the development of new renewable technologies and build the future energy industry.

To accelerate the support for the last renewable technologies, Italy and other EU countries have developed a strategic plan for investments in Research and Innovation in the photovoltaic sector for the next 5 years, which aims to strengthen the leading role of Europe in the field of renewable energy.

This year the European Commission has launched the PV IMPACT project to monitor the progress of the initiatives envisaged by the Plan and the achievement of the targets. Among the various commitments, a number of technical-strategic meetings between companies and public/private laboratories will be organised to networking, with the aim of creating new synergies that support the development of new products and industrial processes in the photovoltaic sector.

IPPO ENGINEERING FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGIES

IPPO Engineering, specialised since 2004 in blue technology [link al secondo articolo], renewable energy and energy efficiency, has designed and installed dozens of photovoltaic systems on sheds, terraces, canopies and roofs, providing also several companies in Sicily and beyond with consulting services on energy efficiency, including the important geothermal plant in Letojanni (Sicily).

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