The Fraunhofer’s Center for Solar Energy Technologies (CSET) brought together representatives from the public, academic and industrial sectors to facilitate a discussion on the possibilities of solar energy to address the current energy challenges in Chile. The event laid the foundation for the phase of consolidation of this international center of excellence in R&D, which was established with the help of the Chilean Energy Ministry and Corfo in 2015.
On 17 April 2018, the “Symposium 2018: The Year of Change” was held in the Anacleto Angelini UC Innovation Center. The Symposium was organized by Fraunhofer CSET in cooperation with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the support from Corfo. The event, in which more than 100 people participated, looked at challenges and opportunities for Chile moving towards a solar economy.
The symposium was opened by Joan Bosch, general manager of Fraunhofer Chile Research, who illustrated the applied research model of this Chilean research center and thanked the shareholders from the public, academic and industrial sector for their trust.
Gabriel Prudencio, head of the renewable energy division at the Ministry of Energy, stressed the existing consensus in the process of development towards the expansion of renewable energies in Chile. “In this spirit, innovation is fundamental for progress towards a more sustainable energy matrix.”
In her speech, Marcela Angulo, manager of technological capabilities of Corfo, named concrete initiatives of Corfo, which foster the implementation of solar energy. “Chile can unfold its comparative advantages, with the singularities offered by the Atacama Desert, and bring to bear its competitive potential to transform the economy” indicated Angulo.
International scientific collaboration
“Chile is a very important partner for us to cooperate with in the area of renewable energies”, said the ambassador of Germany in Chile, Rolf Schulze, when emphasizing that international collaboration is the key to achieve greater efficiency.
Right in line with this, the Chilean-German Chamber of Commerce has an important role to play as a networking and coordinating instrument. Annika Schüttler, Head of Energy Projects, informed about technological tours to Germany and the service to support companies with the implementation of energy efficiency projects.
The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has a co-execution contract with Fraunhofer CSET for the realization of this project. “The collaboration with this center enables our professors and students to benefit from applied research and strengthens our international networks” stressed Prof. Dr. Pedro Bouchon, Research Vice President at UC.
New technologies and applications
The mining industry is the largest industrial consumer of energy. Verónica Cortez, energy manager of Minera Collahuasi, acknowledges that the major challenge facing the mining industry is the incorporation of technological changes to move towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants are seen as a more economical alternative for solar power generation. José Lobo, director of development at SolarReserve, illustrated that this technology provides a workable solution to store solar energy, as it offers a constant source of power producing large amounts of electricity. Besides he added that the first CSP projects are currently being developed in Chile.
The director of Fraunhofer CSET, Prof. Dr. Frank Dinter, closed the symposium by looking at projects which are currently being developed and by thanking the partners, with whom CSET is working together. “I invite you to continue working together with us to solarize the Chilean economy”, said Frank, who will be in charge of the consolidation of this international center of excellence in R&D. Frank Dinter continues the work of Prof. Dr. Werner Platzer, who returns to Germany to lead the department of international relations of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, ISE.