IREC is the leading centre for research in the energy sector in Catalonia. Created in 2008, it is specialised in Technological Research and Development activities related to saving energy, energy efficiency and renewable energies; more specifically, it has work lines based on technologies related to micro networks, electric vehicles, energy storage, building efficiency, bioenergy and biofuels, and offshore wind energy.
The Institute also has an electricity and power electronics area and another aimed at research, design and characterisation of materials for energy. The Institute will be rolled out progressively through to the year 2014, at which time it will have 160 highly qualified researchers.
IREC is based out of Barcelona and Tarragona and the members of the board, chaired by the minister of Enterprise and Labour, Francesc Xavier Mena are drawn from the Government of Catalonia, through the Ministry of Enterprise and Labour and the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, and the Government of Spain, through the Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology Research (CIEMAT) and the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE). Other members are the University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Rovira i Virgili University, as well as the companies Endesa, Gas Natural Fenosa, the Repsol Foundation, Enagás, Compańía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH) and Alstom.
To contribute to the sustainable development of society, and to increase the competitiveness of businesses through:
• Innovation and the technological development of new products.
• Research in the mid- to long-term.
• Scientific development and technical knowledge in the field of energy.
To become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the technological lines chosen through technological research, development and innovation (R&D+i) in collaboration with administrations, businesses and universities.
The Institute must play a twofold role:
Market orientation. This entails offering technological development, new products and new technical solutions to companies in the energy sector in the fields of activity established in the technological lines defined.
Long-term research. This entails conducting research into aspects that also fall into the field of activity defined. Such output will not initially be intended for the market, but rather as a way for the Institute’s groups and areas to generate knowledge that may potentially be commercially profitable in the long-term.
The orientation of the Institute will be marked by finding the right balance between these two activities.