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Stimulating scientific excellence through twinning in the quest for sustainable energy (TwinPV)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TwinPV (Stimulating scientific excellence through twinning in the quest for sustainable energy (TwinPV))

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

The problem addressed in Twinning is that of low scientific cooperation between institutions from countries with high research and innovation (R&I) indicators and institutions from countries with below average R&I indicator. Twinning closes that gap. It pairs institutions from low R&I index with institutions from countries with high R&I index. For TwinPV, the PV Technology Laboratory (PVlab) of the University of Cyprus (UCY) is paired with two internationally-leading research institutions, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The aim is to stimulate excellence and innovation capacity at UCY in photovoltaics (PV) and grid integration in smart grids. The objectives are i) To enhance the quality of and increase the R&I output of the PVlab (UCY), through the enhancement of its scientific and technological capacity in PV and grid integration in smart grids ii) To strengthen significantly the networking capabilities of the PVlab. iii) To significantly boost the participation and success rate in research funding bids in the field submitted by the PVlab both as a Coordinator and as a partner iv) To contribute substantially to bridging the gap between academia-industry in Cyprus through building collaboration links with businesses and industry in the defined field of interest in Cyprus and beyond. v) To achieve a sustainable and constructive interaction with AIT and DTU which will contribute to enriching for many years to come the scientific knowledge and academic excellence of UCY in the relevant scientific field. vi) To strengthen the relevant research links between EU and the extended Mediterranean region, which includes Middle East North Africa countries (MENA). vii) To contribute to the reversal of the poor R&I performance indicators of Cyprus
A total of six intensive hands on workshops, five webinars and 2 PhD summer schools were conducted. The topics included fundamentals of PV, battery and energy storage systems, PV forecasting, fault detection and degradation, PV inverters, impedance spectroscopy and Synthesis and characterisation of perovskite solar cells. The workshops included lectures, lab demonstrations and hands on experiments. They were attended mostly by participants from the three institutions and also from researchers from industry and the MENA country. The researchers from PVlab (UCY) obtained access and training on unique equipment (such as SYSLAB of DTU and smarTEST of AIT) and methodologies that do not exist at UCY. The webinars organized after each training allowed for the training to be accessible to more researchers from UCY and the Cypriot Industry. Furthermore, UCY and AIT had started an extensive collaboration through a PhD student exchange in the field of mechanical defects of PV modules. All the activities led to a total of 5 conference joint publications and presentations and two submitted articles for peer review. This is helping increase the research profile and capacity of the PVlab. Two very successful thematic workshop in Cyprus co-hosted by UCY, DTU and AIT were completed with a about 50 industrial and academic Cypriot participants. The intensive workshops covered topics ranging from fundamentals, emerging technologies, smart grids, network integration, funding and investment opportunities. The workshops looked at how all those developments apply and impact the Cyprus PV industry. There were lots of constructive discussions on how the TwinPV consortium can work with the industry to help them take advantage of upcoming PV opportunities in Cyprus and the surrounding region. The final dissemination and networking event was held at UCY in November of 2018 and it attracted participation from key academics and industry from Cyprus, Europe, Jordan, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and USA.
In addition the partners have participated together in a large number of competitive European and Cypriot grant proposals in the field of PV and grid integration and are currently partners in 6 joint projects.
The impact of TwinPV has been multifold. First, there has been an improvement of the overall scientific and innovation capacity of UCY in the field of PV and integration in smart grids. The scientific output (journals, conferences, citations) has increased as the overall capacity of UCY is improving. The Staff Exchanges, Webinars, Workshops all contributed even further to the scientific and innovation capacity of UCY. Second, there has been a positive impact on the R&I potential of Cyprus. The project TwinPV helped train students, created critical mass of researchers and innovators for PVlab. As part of its strategy and road map (that are a direct result of TwinPV) there is an innovation and exploitation plan for the work done at the PV LAB. TwinPV also helped the local PV industry by providing access to advanced infrastructure and to international experts. With the help of TwinPV UCY has been getting advice and help in implementing the microgrid that will function as a living lab (obtaining real time data on live and not simulated conditions). This living lab will be an engine for growth for PV LAB and UCY in general in a field of crucial importance for Cyprus (energy). Third, it had a major impact by increasing the science and technology capacity of all linked institutions (DTU AND AIT). In particular, UCY which links with two more advanced and prestigious institutions such as AIT and DTU benefited in the following manner: it obtained access and training to infrastructure that it does not have (such as SYSLAB from DTU), it obtained access to world renowned experts in fields that is looking to grow (such as grid integration and smart grids). There has also been significant benefit for DTU and AIT. AIT and DTU improved their science and technology capacity as well as a result of TwinPV: They received training and exchange of knowledge in areas that the PV LAB is very strong at, they obtained access to excellent students that could do part of their PhD at AIT or DTU, and they got the opportunity to analyse and understand the Mediterranean island mode of operation for the Cypriot power system. In addition, UCY and AIT benefited from the strong links that UCY has to the MENA region