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Type
Research Center
Address

Edificio CIRCE / Campus Río Ebro. Mariano Esquillor Gómez, 15
50018 Zaragoza Z
Spain

Description

CIRCE is a research Centre founded in 1993 with the support of the University of Zaragoza, to create and develop innovative solutions and scientific/technical knowledge and transfer them to the business sector in the field of energy.

CIRCE’s mission is to drive forward improvements in energy efficiency and to spread the use of renewable energy by means of the development of R+D+i (Research, Development and Innovation) activities and formative actions that respond to the needs of national and international producers, thereby contributing to sustainable development.

Objectives

Circe's mission consists of the following objectives:

  • To improve competitiveness of national companies by means of the improvement of their energy processes.
  • To develop and apply new technologies that improve energy efficiency and facilitate the diffusion of renewable energy.
  • To develop internationally acclaimed training programmes in energy.
  • To encourage and promote the improvement of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in society through information and ongoing training

Innovation Services for businesses

CIRCE offers research, development and innovation services to businesses to solve the challenges they pose and respond to market innovation needs. 

We believe that introducing the process of innovation to businesses is essential in order to achieve a distinguishing element and an advantage in a highly competitive market, as well as to create opportunities for improvement and growth. 

CIRCE’s researchers help individual entities and organizations to express ideas and realize their full potential, thereby obtaining pioneering solutions in the energy field. In addition, to ensure the sustainability of innovation, CIRCE studies aspects such as economics and profitability, the control and quantification of the resultant environmental impact and the social aspects of the activity.

CIRCE Foundation

CIRCE Foundation

Contact Person
Ignacio MARTÍN

E-mail
imartin@fcirce.es
is SME contact
Equipment

CIRCE boasts high-tech R+D systems to recognized and certified standards. These infrastructures make it possible to offer a good quality, efficient innovation service, in close contact with real businesses, as well as promoting the generation of new knowledge. View each of our labs to see the facilities and activities available.

  • Renewable Energy Integration Laboratory

R+D+i activities performed in the Renewable Energy Integration Lab take place in the field of connection to the electric grid of renewable generation systems, storage and micro-grids, as well as developing applications with which to improve grid quality and electric vehicle charging.

Its facilities make it possible to try out new electronic power configurations by associating different renewable energy sources and storage systems, and by connecting them to weak grids or direct current microgeneration systems, among other activities.

Its facilities are located in three different places: Micro-grid, located in the CIRCE building; direct current micro-grid, located in a real pumping station in Valdabra (Huesca, Spain); and electronic power configuration, in the Cogullada technology park (Zaragoza, Spain).

  • Electrical Metrology Laboratory (LME)

The Electrical Metrology Lab (LME-CIRCE) began its activity in 1983, and was, at that time, the only point of reference in the region in terms of electric magnitude metrology and calibration issues.

LME-CIRCE complies with all the specifications of the UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025 regulations.

In 1997, it received accreditation from ENAC (Spanish National Accreditation Body) in direct current and low frequency electricity, and received accreditation in 2007 for measurement tests in Wind Turbines and Distribution networks.

Since November 2011 it is also member of MEASNET (Measuring Network of Wind Energy Institutes), an international organization created for the collaboration of different institutions specialized in wind energy. Its objective is to ensure the quality of measurements, unify standards and recommendations and ensure the interchangeability of results.

  • Electrical Transformer Substations (ETS)

The I2SET lab is a test and development area for automating substation systems. Its main activity focuses on programming and automating the equipment’s test procedures and on developing control functions in compliance with IEC 61850 regulations.

This lab includes a complex system which covers additional activities such as remote control, teleprotection and communication (research, tests and trials on configuration, development or use, etc.). All of this creates a realistic space in which to validate tests, equivalent to a full-scale system.

  • Electric Protection Testing Laboratory

Developments made in electrical systems and the constant search for improvement in quality influencing factors bring about the need to adapt and improve protection systems.

In this laboratory, various aspects are studied regarding these systems, such as: new distance protection algorithms, automating of the parameterisation process, fault finders, and communication protocol in compliance with IEC 61850.

Electric system protectors aim to protect the various parts of the system but must also guarantee that the impact of possible faults should be minimal in order to ensure the electrical supply is not cut off. To this end, appropriate adjustments must be made to the different possible types of protection: distance, differential (line, transformer or bars), intensity, tension.

  • Trigeneration Laboratory

An experimental facility which aims at developing studies and analysis of individual or combined heat, cold and low power (<1MWe) work production systems based on the combustion of solid biomass, whether it is of residual origin or comes from energy crops.

The objectives are the demonstration of low power trigeneration system feasibility based on the combustion of biomass, studying the running of cold generation systems and work that can be applied to a facility of this kind, as well as evaluating the influence of soiling, synthesis and corrosion in the running and features of the equipment that makes up trigeneration systems.

CIRCE received the SILVER BIOENERGY 2011 PRIZE to best effort in R+D for its work on the development of this laboratory for Biomass energy use research.

  • Co-firing Laboratory

This laboratory has been running since 2002 and is used for the experimental study of biomass pre-treatment, combustion and co-combustion, with the ultimate aim of optimising its energy exploitation.

The lab focuses on the entire cycle of biomass in energy exploitation, where it is burnt as a single fuel or mixed with conventional fuels.

Three independent, semi-industrial sized facilities reproduce the process of drying, grinding and combustion in suspension, with enough equipment to take on campaigns on material characterization, industrial project scaling and studying operational problems.

  • Oxi-firing and Circulated Fluidized Bed Laboratory

This laboratory is responsible for studying key aspects for the mitigation of CO2 emissions in thermal power stations by capturing the gas. Firstly, there is fluidized bed combustion using mixes of oxygen instead of air to produce a pure current of CO2, and secondly, the CO2 is separated from conventional combustion gases using the calcination-carbonation cycle.

The use of Oxy-firing is a first in Spain, and is partly funded by the MICINN (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation) through research project ENE2009-08246. The aim of the studies performed is, on the one hand, to create a current of exhaust gasses rich in carbon dioxide that can be easily stored in geological formations. On the other hand, the aim is to characterize the fluid dynamics in Circulating Fluidized Bed reactors (CFB) used in CO2 capture systems to enable energy integration in power generation facilities.

  • Gasification Laboratory

Gasification represents a sound alternative for transforming biomass and plastic waste into gaseous fuel, increasing their energy value in a cleaner, more efficient manner compared to other options such as simple combustion. In order to contribute to research in gasification of this kind of waste, CIRCE has designed and built a pilot model gasification device based on a 10 kW fluidized bed atmospheric reactor

  • RTDS Laboratory

The growing requirements concerning the grid stability and the quality of the supply, make necessary the performance of more specific tests regarding the protection of the whole electric system

However, most of these tests were performed under non-real time simulations, and worst-case power system conditions are rare and dangerous to induce in the real system.

To fill this gap, CIRCE runs a Real Time Digital Simulator Laboratory (RTDS) where carries out different activities regarding the improvement of the grid characteristics, within a controlled and safe environment.

This equipment allows CIRCE testing protections and controls in real time, and validating devices and prototypes, since it makes it possible to verify their response against all kinds of tests and transient phenomena

Services

-R+D+i privately financed contracted projects for the enhancement of the scientific and technical capabilities of CIRCE:
-R+D activities for processes, products and services to increase efficiency; Innovation for radical or substantial changes to production, processes, products and services.
Technological advice services: studies intended for the improvement of strategic planning in businesses and Administrative departments; design of experimental plants, technological demonstrations and pilot plants, measuring, social economic analysis, techno-economics or matters concerning legislation etc.
Standardized technical help and other laboratory services: testing, calibrating, analysis, detection.
-R+D+i projects in collaboration with public finance: R+D+i projects in collaboration with businesses and other organisations to obtain results that can be commercialized or that represent progress in the state of the art.
-Strategic alliances to improve collaboration with organisations by means of framework collaboration agreements
-Training: Designing and imparting specialisation training activities for professionals in the energy field and intensive customised training for businesses.
-Informative activities and technological transmission: giving talks, conferences and seminars, writing scientific and informative publications, etc.

Other activities
CIRCE is certified by TÜV Rheinland in the norms:

ISO 9001: 2008 – Quality Management Systems
Download certification
ISO 14001: 2004 – Environmental Management System
Download certification
OHSAS 18001: 2007 – Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Systems
Download certification
For the performance of:
-Projects and studies in renewable energies, in electric power systems, of energy efficiency, smart grids and electric mobility.
-Projects and studies in thermochemical processes, for processing and handling of solids, in industrial ecology, evaluation in mineral resources and reduction of emissions in energy systems.
-Training in renewable energies, electric power systems, smart grids, electric mobility, energy efficiency and industrial ecology.
-Design and development of computer applications and measurement systems within the area of electric power systems, for the exergetic analysis of industries and resources for the control and operation of thermal processes.
-Design, development and implementation of experimental and/or demonstration installations in the area of thermochemical processes, processing and handling of solids and reduction of emissions in energy systems.
-Energy audits.

Certification entity
CIRCE has been the first entity accredited by ENAC in compliance with the norm ISO 17024:2012 for the certification of professionals (Energy auditors in industry and construction). Number of accreditation: 14/C-PE026.

The LME – CIRCE performs the certification of professionals from the energy sector who gather the technical and professional competences necessaries for the execution of energy audits in industries and buildings.

Download here the ENAC accreditation Nº 14/C-PE026

Tests
CIRCE, international reference in the execution of electric tests and studies in distribution networks and renewable generation systems, has some of the most prestigious accreditations, which guarantee the excellence in all the activities of the centre, from the planning of the works to the delivery of the achieved results to the customers.

In this sense, CIRCE is accredited by ENAC (Spanish National Accreditation Body) and MEASNET (International Measuring Network of Wind Energy Institutes) for the characterization, test and validation of models in windturbines, photovoltaic systems and FACTS, as well as for the measurement of grid quality in low voltage distribution networks, and windturbines at that voltage.
CIRCE has another accreditation for performing tests in solid fuels boilers, according to the norm UNE-EN 303-5:2013, being the main laboratory in Spain with this acknowledgement.

Calibration
CIRCE has been accredited by ENAC nº 67/LC119 in compliance with UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025 to carry out calibrations on DC and low frequency electricity both in the field and in the laboratory.

These activities are carried out inside the LME laboratory, which began in 1983 and was, at the time, the only point of reference in the area with respect to metrology and calibration of electrical magnitude. Furthermore, these metrology services are endorsed by the numerous references of collaboration with the Spanish Metrology Centre (CEM).

Studies
Professionals with a CMVP (Certified Mesurement & Verification Profesional) certificate for measurement and verification of energy efficiency activities, given by the EVO-Efficiency Valuation Organization
Professionals named Chief Auditors by the British Standards Institution (BSI) under ISO regulation 50001:2011 , Energy management systems

Auditing and Standardisation
CIRCE is considered a standardisation centre in studies on wind power and micrositing by the Aragon Regional Council.

Similarly, various banks and savings banks recognize CIRCE’s auditing studies as being reliable in the endorsement of quality and profitability of the projects in which they take part:

Audits of wind farm feasibility analyses for promoters
Auditing of energy services for businesses
Service for Industry and SMEs
Yes