Have you ever marveled at the extraordinary journey energy undergoes before it lights up our homes? The latest issue of La Repubblica's monthly magazine, Green & Blue, delved into the heart of this energy transformation at CESI's cutting-edge laboratories.
For more than six decades, CESI (Italian Experimental Electrotechnical Center) has played an indispensable role in shaping the global energy landscape. Within its laboratories, reaching heights of up to 45 meters, voltage soars into the millions, subjecting electrical systems to the most rigorous tests. In simpler terms, it evaluates the resilience of electronic equipment to sudden short circuits under extreme conditions.
But how are extreme fault conditions replicated in the high and very high voltage (550kV/63kA) transmission network? CESI's engineers employ a synthetic approach, combining two distinct current and voltage circuits in a synchronized manner. This emulation generates powers equivalent to tens of Gigawatts, allowing comprehensive testing of high-power components without disrupting national transmission networks.
CESI's energy innovation extends beyond this. It encompasses batteries, a pivotal topic on the energy agenda. Recently, within the Dutch laboratories of Kema Labs, a division of the Group dedicated to testing, inspection, and certification activities, CESI experts are exploring how to optimize the interaction between electric vehicles and the electricity grid using new technologies for efficient battery management. These tests offer valuable data on vehicle operating conditions and battery performance degradation to vehicle manufacturers, consumers, and power companies. Notably, CESI, in collaboration with Enel, has tested the innovative 'JuicePole', a revolutionary charging station for electric cars capable of simultaneously charging multiple vehicles.
Yet, CESI's technological development efforts aren't confined to the energy sector alone. In August, the Group signed a significant agreement with the Italian Space Agency. This partnership aims to enhance its production capacity of solar cells for space satellites, incorporating digitized production processes and employing new monitoring technologies and state-of-the-art machinery. CESI stands as one of the global leaders in producing low-cost, high-efficiency photovoltaic cells for space applications, with over 200,000 cells already deployed on more than seventy satellites across 25 different countries. These photovoltaic cells boast exceptional efficiency, around 30 percent, compared to the 18/19 percent of terrestrial ones, and they exhibit heightened resilience to cosmic radiation and very low temperatures.
“CESI's impact on our daily lives is profound, though often overlooked,” comments Domenico Villani, CEO of the company. "In our seven laboratories, we scrutinize the reliability of components that constitute the foundation of the systems delivering electrical power to our homes: cables, electrical panels, transformers, insulators, and more. Annually, over 200,000 components undergo rigorous testing for more than 5,000 clients worldwide. Through these endeavors, Cesi plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and resilience of electrical grids, both in Italy and around the world".
To read the full article: "Behind the Scenes of the Energy That Powers Our Homes - La Repubblica"