The energy storage systems, the energy management and power electronics have been the investigation target of sectors such as transport, renewable resources or production processes, which aim at increasing their competitiveness through real solutions with more functions or less costs. These will also allow them to raise the efficiency and reliability levels, offering sustainable and more environmental friendly solutions.
Within this context, the technological centre IK4-IKERLAN currently cooperates with the most outstanding companies in the development of these technologies in their products, as is the case of CAF, Vectia (an affiliate of the CAF Group), Orona, Fagor Ederlan, Iberdrola Renovables and Cegasa, among others.
Furthermore, with the objective of continuing incorporating new knowledge in these sectors, the technological centre Arrasate-Mondragón has an outstanding participation in European Union commitment to look for new solutions to the main challenges of the management sector and the energy storage.
In this sense, the entity in charge of the investigation is the technological allied company of the Ghost and Assured projects, which aim at developing new electrical mobility systems for the transport sector and which will lead an initiative called ETEKINA so as to improve the energy efficiency in the industry.
The three projects are being carried out within the H2020 programme of the European Committee and that is why there is a total budget that amounts to more than 30 million Euros.
Improving the energy behaviour in industrial processes
Within the framework of the ETEKINA project, which started in 2017 and which will last four years, the technological centre is working on the development and validation of heat exchangers based on heating ducts for the sector related to steel, ceramic and non-ferrous metals.
The project is expected to be terminated with the installation of devices in real environments, such as in the plant of Fagor Ederlan in Arrasate, at the premises of SIJ Metal Ravne in Slovenia and in the plant of Ceramiche Atlas Concorde Spa, in Italy.
Supporting the electrification of the transport sector
IK4-IKERLAN plays an important role as regards the Assured and Ghost projects, which aim at benefiting a progressive electrification of the transport sector, one of the global challenges of the future.
On the one hand, the initiative Assured, leaded by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), will gather important entities such as Iveco, Volvo, MAN, Vectia, ABB, Siemens o Alstom, among others, which will work collectively to build the development of a new generation of high power chargers for buses and trucks.
The project, which started last October and will last four years, aims at developing storage technologies and energy management which will allow to reduce the charging time of vehicles, increase their autonomy and meet the demand of cities.
Within the framework of Assured, IK4-IKERLAN is working on the analysis and evaluation of main factors which affect the proper functioning of the storage systems, such as the wear suffered by batteries throughout their lives or the behaviour featured by high power operation systems.
On the other hand, within the Ghost project framework, which will develop battery systems for more compact, competitive and reliable electrical cars, the technological centre leads the development of cutting-edge devices of hybrid storage. These developments will be validated at the premises of the technological centre, in Arrasate-Mondragón.
For that purpose, the investigators of IK4-IKERLAN are working on the design of the architecture of the system and the integration of a new control device of batteries, called BMS (Battery Management System).
The Ghost project, which is leaded by the vehicle manufacturer FIAT, gathers some of the main vehicle manufacturers, such as Toyota and Iveco, as well as important providers such as Infineon and Valeo.
The solutions developed in the project are expected to be integrated in both pilot projects. These technologies will be applied on an electrical vehicle of the Fiat company and on an electrical bus of the Iveco company.
Because of this work, the centre consolidates its commitment to promote a more sustainable society in the future, undertaking several global challenges of the future, such as the progressive electrification of the transport sector and the improvement of the energetic behaviour of industrial processes.
Power electronics, another key to the future transport
IK4-IKERLAN has a vast experience in the power electronics field, which makes it one of the leading technological agents in this field.
The main sector benefited from this knowledge is the railway one. At present, the technological centre participates in some of the most representative investigation projects, such as the Roll2Rail initiative or the ICPT project, both developed in cooperation with the CAF group.
Within the framework of Roll2Rail, IK4-IKERLAN has developed an innovative electric traction system for trains based on silicon carbide semiconductors (SiC), a device which allows to diminish by 30% the size, reduce by 20% the weight and increase by 50% the energy efficiency of devices currently used.
Furthermore, the ICPT initiative has been useful to give a wireless charging solution for trams based on electromagnetic technology which does not require, unlike conventional methods, any type of direct electrical contact, such as catenaries, wires or plugs, to charge the batteries of trains or buses.
On the other hand, IK4-IKERLAN is also working on the application of power electronics in other sectors, such as the lifting sector by means of its strategic partner Orona in the aeronautic sector together with Airbus DS or in its application of renewable resources with the company Zigor.
IK4-IKERLAN is a leading centre for technology transfer and for providing competitive value to companies due, among other things, to the expertise of its researchers. It offers comprehensive solutions by combining different fields of technology in three main areas: Electronics, information and communication technology (EICT), Energy and power electronics and Advanced manufacturing. In 2017, AENOR, has certified IK4-IKERLAN’s comprehensive management system (UNE-EN ISO 9001:2015 and UNE 166002:2014), which is a acknowledging of the excellence of the centre in the R&D&I area. It currently has a staff of approximately 300 people.