Irina Konakhina, Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Education, speaks about recent research in clean energy.
Solar energy, one of the hottest trends in today's science, has already firmly established its place, providing about 4% of total energy consumption globally. The largest solar farm in the world, Topaz, has 580 MW of installed capacity. There are a number of sizable plants in other countries as well.
Professor Konakhina explains, «During 1990s developing new energy was basically out of question because of prolonged repayment periods. As a result, we have to deal with high power consumption by national industry. Also, it's very difficult to integrate alternative energy supply into our centralized system that was built with large fuel-burning facilities in mind».
Nevertheless, the interest towards new energy grows by day, although still mostly concentrated on separate households and buildings. Institute of Engineering of KFU considers alternative energy one of its priorities, together with bioengineering and robotics.
«We currently work on hybrid solar power systems and technologies. Hybrid systems can be installed in existing supply chains with the help of latest developments in automation, system analysis, and optimization of complex technical objects. That's a very timely issue for our country that will help to increase efficiency, reliability and safety of power supply sources», adds Dr. Konakhina.
What are the specifics of such hybrid systems? One device can generate two or more types of resources. In this case – electricity and heating. Hybrid elements can increase the coefficient of performance and uniformity of power production through the removal of excessive heat that is later used in heating.