Innovation, Research
and Development
In 2005, the Group focused its research and development efforts on projects involving power generation through fuel cells, advanced photovoltaic technologies and superconductivity. In addition, the research operations continued to provide technical support to the Marketing Department in assessing the suitability of cogenerating technologies for small facilities.
Lastly, significant efforts were devoted to evaluating opportunities for collaborative research projects with EdF, with the objective of maximizing any synergies that could be developed through joint projects planned for 2006.
In 2005, the Group focused its research and development efforts on projects involving power generation through fuel cells, advanced photovoltaic technologies and superconductivity.
Superconductivity
Experiments involving a magnesium diboride superconductor built with Edison's reactive infiltration technology focused on the production of materials used to build prototypes of superconducting devices in collaboration with Istituto CNR IENI in Lecco.
In the area of systems research, the Electrical Measurements Laboratory of the Edison Research Center (the first facility in Italy that has been certified to perform measurements involving critical temperature superconducting tape) performed, on behalf of the CESI, the characterization of several superconductor samples, including some produced by Edison. Similar work was also performed on behalf of the CERN in Geneva.
Edison also continued to collaborate with the CNR IMEM in Parma on several joint research projects.
Advanced Photovoltaic Technologies
A project carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Parma and Ferrara resulted in the development of prototypes of multi-junction solar cells and high-concentration photovoltaic systems based on the spectral separation of concentrated sunbeams. These devices will be tested at Edison's Trofarello Research Center.
A separate agreement was reached with ENEA for the joint development of a special radiometer that can be used to study these high-performance photovoltaic systems.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
A project financed under an agreement with the Region of Piedmont and the Italian Ministry of the Environment to build a research center and laboratory dedicated to research in this area was completed in June. The experiments carried out at this facility involved the characterization of different types of fuel cells, powered by either hydrogen or natural gas, with capacities ranging up to 10 kW.
The testing was carried out with the support of the Materials Science Department of Turin's Politecnico. In addition, a project carried out in cooperation with the Energetics Department of Milan's Politecnico resulted in the development of simulation software for high-temperature cells.
Work in the field of hydrogen production included a technical and financial assessment of a natural gas reforming system designed specifically for use with fuel cells.
Lastly, Edison is a participant in the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Platform established by the MIUR.