The Center of International Excellence in Technologies for Solar Energy of Fraunhofer Chile Research (FCR-CSET) was established, in response to the call of the Ministry of Economy of Chile, through the economic development agency CORFO, to establish Centers of International Excellence. In 2011, the operations of the Systems Biotechnology Center (CSB) began and in 2015 the Center for Solar Energy Technologies (CSET) became operational too. Both centers are supported by German sponsoring centers; IME (Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology) for CSB and ISE (Institute for Solar Energy Systems) for CSET.
The Center of Solar Energy Technologies—Fraunhofer Chile Research (FCR-CSET), implemented together with the Catholic University, began its activities in 2015. From that moment, FCR-CSET uses the applied research model of the Fraunhofer institutes in Germany, in order to to encourage the growth of solar activities in the Chilean industry. During its first phase, FCR-CSET worked under three lines of research: Solar Electricity with focus on CSP, Solar Heat with focus on the mining industry and Solar Water Treatment, with a focus on membrane technologies.
During the first phase of its execution (2015-2018) FCR-CSET explored opportunities and restrictions for the development, management and application of research and innovation activities in Chile, according to the international Fraunhofer model. Within the local context there is a high motivation of companies to adapt innovative technologies, with the importance of Fraunhofer's experience to install, operate and maintain solar systems.
Being an interdisciplinary research center, for the second phase, FCR-CSET concentrates its research mainly on the use of engineering for the development of innovative technology in the installation and management of pilot plants in photovoltaic systems and solar thermal systems. A new format was introduced in the research lines, a product of the experience obtained during the first phase of execution and with a view to exploiting the potential of solar energy in Chile.
In this way, its research activity is concentrated on two fronts:
Solar thermal systems
To be the leading institution in Chile and Latin America in research and development in the area of solar energy and energy efficient systems, with excellent research results, successful projects, co-operations and spin-offs in order to develop a sustainable solar economy, affordable, efficient enough to provide a safe and socially balanced energy supply in the region.
With its system of technology-oriented innovations, FCR-CSET wishes to develop technical solutions for the economic use of renewable energy sources and for the improvement of energy efficiency, by supporting the competitiveness of its industrial customers, as well as the acceptance of sustainable energy systems in society.