The TECSAS FET-Launchpad is a Horizon 2020 project, which aims to develop a system for converting solar energy into electricity using a newly developed thermionic cathode.
Solar energy conversion is widely recognised as one of the main routes to carbon neutrality and distributed photovoltaics (PV) is increasingly being considered as a possible alternative to fossil fuel generation. Although scalable, PV suffers from limited efficiency (20-25%) and production fluctuations due to day-night cycles and weather conditions.
TECSAS proposes to develop a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system on a domestic scale, as opposed to state-of-the-art technology which, to be economically viable, requires installations on a very large scale, at power station level. This is possible thanks to an innovative thermionic cathode that allows much higher efficiency at a much lower cost than current technology.
The development of TECSAS will make it possible to have a new method of solar conversion, sustainable on a domestic scale, and thus allowing to distribute production in areas of interest (rural areas not connected to the grid, small businesses, car parks, offshore platforms, etc.) while keeping costs and environmental impact low. This will enable the development of areas currently lacking a low-cost electricity supply, facilitating the creation of independent energy communities and reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
Day One has a key role in this project in ensuring that project development takes into account market demands and the needs of future customers. Day One is a business partner of TECSAS in identifying market opportunities and key features of a future product, anticipating issues that are crucial for a young company wishing to enter this sector.
To complete these activities Day One takes advantage of its expertise in venture building and uses the User Centered Design approach, which puts the end user at the centre (the person who installs the system at a site owned by the company, and who uses the energy produced) to design a product suited to the needs of the market. The research team is guided by information gathered during interviews with key opinion leaders in the industry, including component suppliers, EPC contractors and large electricity distributors. Through this information Day One helps the team to set targets to achieve in order to build a concept that presents a real competitive advantage over other solutions currently on the market.