Institute IMDEA Energy, together with Bauhaus Luftfahrt e. V. and ETH Zurich, has been awarded the Energy Globe World Award 2021 for its participation in the SUNlight-to-LIQUID project: Integrated solarthermochemical synthesis of liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

The award was announced on 8 November at the gala ceremony held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 26. Alongside SUNlight-to-LIQUID, the German company Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Wave Swell Energy, representing Australia, were also recognised in the ‘fire’ category.


Awarded also in the national category
The institute has also received the ‘National Energy Globe Award Spain 2021’ in the national category, in recognition of the most outstanding environmental project in Spain. This award was presented on 3 November at IMDEA Energía’s headquarters in a ceremony attended by Ernst Kopp, Commercial Counsellor and Virginia Alonso, Business & Communications Development Manager at the Commercial Office of the Austrian Embassy in Madrid, together with David Serrano, Director of IMDEA Energía, Manuel Romero, Deputy Director of IMDEA Energía and José González Aguilar, Head of the High Temperature Processes Unit at IMDEA Energía.

SUN-to-LIQUID has addressed the challenge of producing renewable fuels from water and CO2 using concentrated solar energy and demonstrating the synthesis of solar paraffin. This process has important implications for the transport sector, especially for long-haul aviation and the marine sector, as they are dependent on the refuelling of liquid fuels.

The project has successfully scaled up the technology for the first real solar radiation tests. To realise this demonstration, a concentrating solar power plant has been built at Institute IMDEA Energía in Móstoles, Spain, entirely developed by its High Temperature Processes Research Unit.

“As a result, we have a field of heliostats, mirrors that track the position of the sun at all times, which manages to concentrate 2,500 times the solar radiation – three times more than the concentration used in commercial solar towers commonly used to produce electricity – which has opened the door for this technology to be applied in the production of solar fuels and hydrogen,” explains Manuel Romero, Deputy Director of IMDEA Energía.
The project ran from January 2016 to 31 December 2019 and received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Alongside IMDEA Energy, the SUN-to-LIQUID consortium includes other research centres and companies involved in the thermochemical production of solar fuels, such as Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V., ETH Zurich, DLR, Abengoa, ARTTIC and HyGear.

The world’s most recognised environmental award 

The Energy Globe World Sustainability Award, organised by the independent Austrian Energy Globe Foundation, is today the world’s most recognised environmental award. With 182 participating countries and more than 25,000 projects submitted from all over the world, the awards recognise the most outstanding work in each country, ranging from small and simple initiatives to large-scale projects.

According to Ernst Kopp, Commercial Counsellor at the Commercial Office of the Austrian Embassy in Madrid, “Advantage Austria is a strong supporter of the Energy Globe Awards and its aim to strengthen society’s awareness of the need for green change by rewarding projects that stand out for their environmental and renewable best practices. In this sense, it gives me great pleasure to present IMDEA Energy with the world-renowned Energy Globe Award for its excellent work in the field of environmental sustainability on the occasion of the SUN-to-LIQUID project. Thank you for this magnificent initiative and for wanting to make a better world where renewable energies and sustainability play a key role. Congratulations on this exemplary project.