Austria

austria

Austria is a small and open economy with a strong export orientation. Environmental technology sectors are a particularly dynamic part of the Austrian economy and one of the drivers of export-oriented growth, performing significantly stronger compared to the overall economy since the financial crisis in 2008.

Austrian companies have established an internationally leading position in several green technology markets. These are heat generation through thermal solar systems and heat pumps, heat storage systems, smart electricity grids, technologies for biomass energy, and passive house building. Smart and intermodal (electrical) mobility management is another upcoming eco-innovation area. With its long tradition and highest recycling rates in the EU, Austrian recycling industries are well positioned to play a key role in the future transformation of Austria towards a circular economy.

With a total score of 108 in the overall Eco-Innovation Scoreboard (Eco-IS) 2015, Austria ranked eighth in the list of EU countries, located between France and Spain and slightly above the EU average. In two of the five components (eco-innovation inputs and resource-efficiency outcomes), Austria’s performance is very close to the European average performance, while performance is above EU average regarding eco-innovation activities and outputs, and below EU average in the component of socio-economic outcomes.

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Austria

Austria

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Dye Solar Cell (Grätzel Cell)

Labels: AustriaConstruction

dye solar cellFIBAG, the research institution for development of active and passive energy systems for facade integration works on low-price photovoltaic façades. One of the most innovative technological centres in the world for the employment of dye-sensitised solar cells in buildings can be found in Stallhofen in West Styria (Austria), in the middle of the "Green Tech Valley". The new cooperation between FIBAG and Professor Michael Grätzel, who belongs to the top 50 researchers worldwide and is the inventor of the “Grätzel-Cell“, shows enormous promise in the development of low-price photovoltaic façades, as well as in European technological leadership.

The technology developed by Grätzel – the “Grätzel Cell” (“Dye Solar Cell”) – represents an alternative to the usual and expensive silicon-based solar cell, allowing the transformation of light into electric current without silicon; it is also known as artificial photosynthesis. With estimates of a saving of up to 50% in comparison to conventional silicon technologies, the “Grätzel Cell” is cheap to produce, flexible in terms of form, and will thus become one of the key energy solutions in coming years. The sytem can offset the energy costs required for production in less than a year, while the amortisation period for silicon cells often lasts much longer. For his work Michael Grätzel has recently received the millennium prize, the “Nobel Prize for Engineers”. The characteristics of the ‘Grätzel Cell’ make it optimal for integration into the external components of a building, since it can be produced in any colour or form, as well as set into vertical or horizontal surfaces, and also works with stray light. FIBAG’s task will be to develop the necessary integration technologies; first solutions are expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Barriers

The operating costs of a building achieve almost 90% of its construction costs over the period of 30 years.

Drivers

Recucing the energy consumption --> active building concept systems (abc systems) through integral construction engineering. Integral stands for the joining together of technologies and know-how in order to realise synergetic, technical solutions for applications in and on buildings.

Economic Performance

Lowest possible operational costs and lowest possible rental and supply costs.
With esimates of a saving of up to 50% in comparison to conventional silicon technologies, the "Grätzel Cell" is cheap to produce.

Social Performance

In the area of abc systems, there is no general education provided by schools, polytechnics, technical colleges or universities. The entire necessary knowledge is acquired through learning by doing, on the run. FIBAG provides education and training services with an interdisciplinary integration of technical colleges, technical universities and civil engineers as well as suppliers, creating a new basis for abc systems.

Environmental Impact

Facing the problems of climate and environmental changes with solutions.

Integration of energy technologies into the building shell or the optimisation of the entire energy balance of a building through the combination of the technologies used in the building’s shell with the technical facilities of the building itself.

The buildings are able to contribute to the improvement of the overall global situation, reducing CO2 emissions or even generate a net energy production through application of the "Active Building Concept" method.

Resource conservation (no silicon used)

Further Information

ECO World Styria (www.eco.at)

FIBAG (www.fibag.at )

picture source: EcoFriend © 2011

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