AEE INTEC: 25 years of working on the energy turn-around

Photo: AEE Intec
Photo: AEE Intec

On the 28 June 2013, AEE INTEC celebrated its 25th anniversary with an event in Gleisdorf. Austria's most important solar research institute has significantly contributed to making the Alpine republic the Number 1 country in Europe for solar heating. It began with groups of people in the nineteen-eighties who were developing solar collectors for their own use and forming purchasing pools to try to keep costs down. In 1988, the solar activists founded the Working Group on Renewable Energy as a non-profit organization to conduct applied research in the field of solar thermal energy.

In 1993, the association was renamed to Working Group on Renewable Energy – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC). "Concerning the realignment, it was clear that the field of solar thermal energy should continue to be developed as a central field of work and, at the same time, additional areas of work should be built up," explains Managing Director Werner Weiss. In the early nineties it became clear that solar thermal plants could only make a significant contribution to space heating if the buildings that were to be heated conformed to a very good thermal insulation standard. As a consequence, the study of energy and resource efficient construction methods at AEE INTEC led to the founding of the area of research Sustainable Building. Researchers have increasingly been looking at industrial processes and energy systems since 2000.

During the course of its existence, the research institute has been involved in more than 270 national and international projects. In addition to the development of new technologies, the 45 employees work in the areas of education cooperation and in trans-national knowledge transfer. They have trained nearly 800 solar thermal planners and solar installers and engaged in technology transfer projects in 28 countries. The global market statistics, which AEE INTEC have been putting together for the International Energy Agency (IEA) since 2000, are probably its best-known service for the international solar thermal industry. Since 2010, Werner Weiss has also managed the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, the world's largest research network for solar thermal energy. The Institute was also instrumental in the establishment of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform.

Jan Gesthuizen

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