This work is funded by national funds through the FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., under the project PTDC/EAM-PEC/29905/2017



The energy transition to decarbonised energy systems implies a continuous innovation in materials and in low-carbon energy technologies. LocalEnergy is in line with this strategy by addressing the development and exploitation of environmental-friendly and scalable low-cost technologies related to energy conversion.

The main goal of LocalEnergy is the valorisation of endogenous resources (solar and mineral) through the development of energy-harvesting applications based on the tetrahedrite mineral, which offers a high exploitation potential: Portugal has a high level of solar energy irradiation (Fig. 1) and has one of the most important volcanogenic massive sulphide districts in the world, the Iberian Pyrite Belt, where tetrahedrite mineral series is one of the constituents (Fig. 2). Tetrahedrite is a class of copper antimony sulfosalt mineral (Cu12-xMxSb4S13, x less or equal to 2), i.e., consisting of earth-abundant and relatively non-toxic elements, thus opening new opportunities for renewable energy applications.

LocalEnergy is focused on the material research and development for thermoelectric (TE) and solar energy harvesting. The project plan is based on a parallel development of new TE and photovoltaic (PV) materials based on tetrahedrites:

1. Development of TE materials
It will consist in the systematic development of innovative non-hazardous TE materials by using natural and synthetic tetrahedrites, for the temperature operation range 300-500 °C. Three complementary approaches to produce TE materials are evaluated: classic multi-step process (C), glass crystallisation (GC) approach and an innovative powder metallurgical (PM) process.

2. Development of PV materials
It will consist in the systematic development of thin film solar cells (TFSC) by using synthetic tetrahedrite/chalcostibite as a new absorber material. Two complementary approaches to produce the absorber layer are evaluated: physical vapour deposition (PVD) and an innovative powder technology approach.


LocalEnergy will explore industry-oriented scientific activities with the following characteristics:

Use of powder technology to process synthetic tetrahedrites for the absorber layer of TFSC, suitable for large scale manufacture at low cost.

Use of natural tetrahedrites (Fig. 2a), obtained from the Barrigão ore located in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB), (Fig. 2b), for producing thermoelectric materials.

Long-term vision
Opportunity for developing sustainable energy systems based on the maximization and exploitation of Portuguese natural resources, namely, solar energy and mineral resources. Use of small local solar concentration facilities for direct production of electricity.
Interdisciplinary: Research in multiple scientific domains (e.g. physics, chemistry, materials science, geology) with multiple application levels (proof-of-concept, theoretical modelling, laboratory prototype development, industrial implementation).

LocalEnergy brings together a well-balanced combination of research units with excellent complementary skills, with expertise in materials science, geology, physics, chemistry and renewable energies, and with curricula and experience in project collaboration.
Integration and training of young researchers: The amount allocated to this item corresponds to the largest budget share.

All the partners are firmly determined to promote technological development and to generate technology transfer and share and disseminate knowledge.

LocalEnergy Activities
The projects activities are organized in 4 Work Packages (WP) (each subdivided in several tasks):

WP1 – Project Management
WP2 – Tetrahedrites for thermoelectric applications
WP3 – Tetrahedrites for photovoltaic applications
WP4 – Dissemination and Exploitation


Work Packages

Work package 1

Project Management

All partners are involved in WP1 / WP leader is LNEG.

Objectives of WP1:

· Ensure the correct execution of the project’s work plan including its adaptation to necessities that may occur during the project execution.
· Ensure that all project partners fulfil their communication, reporting and cost statement commitments.
· Ensure that contractual, ethical and gender equality issues are properly addressed.
· Supervise the progress of the work.

Tasks (T):

T1 – Project coordination
T2 – Communication, reporting and monitoring
T3 – Quality and risk assessment management

Work package 2

Tetrahedrites for thermoelectric applications

LNEG and C2TN are involved in WP2 / WP leader is C2TN.

Objectives of WP2:

Develop a reference synthetic tetrahedrite (Cu12-xMxSb4S13) material using the classical multi-step process approach based on direct melting under vacuum, followed by annealing.
· Demonstrate and validated the direct use of natural tetrahedrite ore to decrease the cost and the time of preparation.
· Develop a fast solid‐state synthesis method based on the combination of glass crystallisation or mechanical alloying methods and microwave sintering.

The geological samples will be collected in the Barrigão mine, located in the Portuguese Iberian Pyrite Belt, where tetrahedrite-tennantite mineral series is one of the constituents. The general formula for the series is Cu12-xMx(Sb,As)4S13. Tetrahedrite is the antimony (Sb) mineral while tennantite is the arsenic (As) form.

Key concepts in the proposed research methodology is the direct synthesis of nanocrystalline tetrahedrites by a short mechanical alloying step and maintaining the nanostructure during the subsequent densification step through microwave sintering to produce 3D bulk nanocrystalline Cu12-xMxSb4S13 tetrahedrites. The advantage of this approach includes:

· The use of mechanical alloying offers several intrinsic advantages like easy control of global composition, relatively inexpensive equipment and the possibility of scaling up.

· The use of microwave energy to sinter materials offers some potential advantages to obtain nanostructured bulk materials from powder, by reducing processing times.

· Additional heat treatment is not necessary for obtaining thermoelectric materials.

· Reduction in the overall processing time when compared to the conventional synthesis methods.

Relevant aspects to be evaluated: influence of the chemical composition of the ore and the effect of nanostructuring in the TE properties, effect of doping elements in ZT.

Tasks (T):

T4 – Selection of optimum compositions for synthetic tetrahedrites
T5 – Processing of thermoelectric materials from synthetic tetrahedrites
T6 – Selection of geological samples
T7 – Processing of thermoelectric materials from mineral-based tetrahedrites
T8 – Chemical, structural and microstructural characterisation of thermoelectric materials
T9 – Thermoelectrical characterisation of tetrahedrites

Work package 3

Tetrahedrite-based materials for photovoltaic applications

LNEG and CENIMAT-i3N are involved in WP3 / WP leader is CENIMAT-i3N.

Objectives of WP3:

· Demonstrate new concepts related with the processing and performance of tetrahedrite (CAS)-based thin film solar cells.
· Produce a reference CAS-based thin film solar cell through physical vapour deposition.
· Develop and demonstrate the feasibility of alternative processes towards simple, environmentally friendly and low-cost manufacturing of tetrahedrite-based thin film solar cells by applying powder technology and liquid dispersion-based deposition methods for processing the absorber layer.

The device structure to be evaluated will be based on the typical chalcogenide solar cell architecture. Relevant aspects to be evaluated: absorber composition, optimisation of absorber thickness and crystallographic orientation, alteration of absorber properties due to possible chemical reactions or inter-diffusion with contacts during processing and optimisation of the device structure.

Tasks (T):

T10 – Electrical and optical modelling of tetrahedrite-based thin film solar cells
T11 – Thin film solar cells from tetrahedrite-based absorber layer produced by physical vapour deposition
T12 – Thin film solar cells from tetrahedrite-based absorber layer produced by powder technology
T13 – Chemical, structural and microstructural characterisation of photovoltaic materials
T14 – Optical and electrical characterisation of photovoltaic materials

Work package 4

Dissemination and Exploitation

All partners are involved in WP4 / WP leader is LNEG.

Objectives of WP4:

· Define, promote and execute dissemination activities to make the results of the project known to the scientific, industrial and general public communities.
· Launch the project website.
· Manage the knowledge generated and its exploitation by means of proper intellectual property rights.

Dissemination, communication and technology transfer of project results and public engagement are vital activities that fulfil the project’s key outcome, to make the results widely visible, accessible and lasting. These activities, considered by all partners as mandatory, will provide a reliable mechanism of information and advertising actions, consistent with national and EU policies.

Tasks (T):

T15 – Dissemination of project results
T16 – Communication and promotion
T17 – IPR Promotion


(Project Coordinator)

LNEG – Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia, I.P. (National Laboratory of Energy and Geology), is a State Laboratory belonging to the Ministry of Economy with the specific task of bridging over, in scientific terms, to Industry in Energy and Geology areas.

LNEG mission is to promote technological innovation science and technology oriented for economic development contributing to increase competitiveness of economic agents in the context of sustainable progress of the Portuguese economy. In accordance with the Portuguese Government’s strategies and policies for economic and social development, LNEG takes up the role of an interface between results generated by R&D programs and their technological transfer and integration into the energy and geology productive sector.

LNEG participation in a broad range of international projects confers it the role of a key partner for internationalization, as well as of a source of specialized information over several R&D fields. LNEG has also an important role on assisting directly the Government for the public policies on the Energy and Geology areas.

LNEG was awarded with the “HR Excellence in Research” Logo from the European Commission. This award acknowledges the efforts in implementing the principles of The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. LNEG is the first Portuguese institution awarded with this Logo. LNEG was certified according to the NP EN ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management System and with the NP 4457:2007 for the System of Research, Development and Innovation.

The Association of Instituto Superior Técnico for Research and Development (IST-ID) is a private not-for-profit institution, which primarily aims at carrying out Science and Technology activities, fostering knowledge transfer and promoting the involvement of national and foreign researchers, internally and externally, in RD&I projects in their areas of expertise. The IST-ID carries out RD&I activities in two major areas, which are associated with challenges with a strong impact on society. These are strongly interdisciplinary areas in nature and cut across different fields of engineering, science and technology and architecture. The RD&I activities comprise not only fundamental aspects but also projects with a strong applied component and the areas of intervention are Basic Sciences, Information and Communication Technologies, Energy, Environment and Mobility, Applied Life Sciences, Materials, Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, Manufacturing Technologies Engineering, Nuclear Reactors and Accelerators, Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection.

Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, C2TN, is a multidisciplinary unit of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). IST is the premium engineering, science and technology school in Portugal, integrating competences from all fields of engineering and fundamental sciences. Its mission is to provide top quality higher education and to develop RD&I that meet the highest international standards.

C2TN is a research center of Excellence in the areas of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, Radiation Protection, Earth Systems, Radioactivity, Cultural Heritage and Advanced Materials. It gathers researchers, teachers, students and other collaborators, with knowledge and competences in leading and cutting edge, multidisciplinary and innovative topics in the aforementioned areas. The C2TN teams operate equipment, laboratories and infrastructures, some of them unique in Portugal. The C2TN members have a longstanding record of collaboration with foreign and national entities and stakeholders in sectors such as academia, research, health, industry, business and entrepreneurship, with professional societies and associations, municipalities, etc., in the framework of fundamental and applied research activities and of provision of advanced technical services.

Associação para a Inovação e Desenvolvimento da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (NOVA.ID.FCT) focuses on the support and promotion of scientific research, technology and development services to society at Faculdade de Ciência e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCT NOVA).

NOVA.ID.FCT based at FCT NOVA campus is a private non-profit institution and acts as the legal front institution of research units, from different scientific fields, carrying out research work and managing financial and administratively R&D&I projects promoted by FCT NOVA. This interface entity organizes qualified human resources training and consulting expertise, and knowledge dissemination and technology transfer activities.

FCT NOVA founded in 1977, is one of the most prestigious Portuguese public schools of science and engineering today, with a total enrolment of 8000 students (Degree, MSc and PhD). The School has achieved extraordinary national relevance for Higher Education on several new programmes, most of them pioneers nationwide. Between 2011 and 2015, FCT NOVA published more than 5500 papers indexed in ISI Web of Science where has earned recognition by its peers. So far, FCT NOVA counts with 5 ERC Grants (1 Advanced Grant, 1 Consolidator Grant and 3 Starting Grant and has a portfolio of around 50 patent families. This shows the visibility as a higher technical and science school engineering.

NOVA.ID.FCT implements a professional management of 16 research units (recognised by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) that supports the scientific community in Portugal through a range of funding schemes), where three of them were classified as Exceptional (3 out of 11 in the country), four as Excellent, six as Very Good and three Good. These numbers reflect the quality of research carrying out at NOVA.ID.FCT and the suitability of infrastructures and facilities to develop all R&D&I across all research units recognized by FCT.

Currently, NOVA.ID.FCT has experience in managing 3 EU FP7 projects (around 0.53M€) and has already been awarded with 20 projects in H2020 adding up to 10,7€ million. This shows the visibility and competitiveness of the NOVA.ID.FCT at European and International level and strong experience in collaborative projects, working with partners from all over the world.

CENIMAT|i3N (Ref. UID/CTM/50025) is a national scientific research center sponsored by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, through the Foundation for Science and Technology. This center has been evaluated by a panel of international experts in the field of Materials Science and Engineering since 1996, who classified it as EXCELLENT. This grade reflects the high technical and scientific merit of the R&D activity carried out by CENIMAT researchers, translated by the quantity and quality of the scientific publications produced and the high number of scientific and technological projects. This same panel of experts also recognized that CENIMAT could be considered at a National level as “a model of excellence in the field of Materials science and engineering”. Since 2006 CENIMAT has integrated the Laboratório Associado” (i3N – Institute for Nanostructures, Nanomodelling and Nanofabrication). It is also associated with the Material Science Department/Departamento de Ciência de Materiais of Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia / Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Concerning the scientific organization, CENIMAT is divided in three Reasearch Teams (ID Teams): Materials for Electronics, Optoelectronics and Nanotechnologies (MEON), Soft and biofunctional materials group (SBMG) and Structural Materials (SM).


Online Lecture by Professor Manuel João Mendes

July 21, 2020 – 15h - 16h

We proudly invite you to join the online lecture entitled “Photonic-enhanced Sunlight-driven CO2 conversion: Producing Methane from Photovoltaics improved with Light Management” that will be given by Professor Manuel João Mendes from CENIMAT-i3N, FCT/UNL.

Details: Registration is free but mandatory. Registration here for more information.

Event Category: Open to the public.

Venue: This lecture will be held as an online lecture at Zoom. The invitation to participate in the online session will be sent by email 24h before the Lecture.

Lecture summary: Artificial photosynthesis is regarded as one of the best ways to protect the environment while producing carbon-based fuels, because it closes the anthropogenic carbon cycle. We will present Photovoltaic-Electrochemical (PV-EC) integrated systems, enhanced via light management (photonic) strategies, capable of converting CO2 into usable carbon-based fuels with high solar-to-fuel efficiency, in which “smart” synergetic effects between the technologies are explored, such as thermal coupling that can strongly improve the reliability and energetic performance.

LocalEnergy will participate in CIES2020

LocalEnergy will participate in CIES2020, XVII Congresso Ibérico and XIII Congresso Ibero-americano de Energia Solar, with one oral presentation “Processamento de materiais termoelétricos baseados na tetraedrite usando minério de tetraedrite-tenantite” and one poster “Recursos locais para aplicações multifuncionais de captação de energia com base em tetraedrite”.

CIES2020 will be held online from 3-5 November 2020, click here for more information.

LocalEnergy will participate in VCT2020

LocalEnergy will participate in VCT2020, the 2020 Virtual Thermoelectric Conference, with one oral presentation entitled “Processing of tetrahedrite-based thermoelectric materials using tetrahedrite-tennantite copper ores”.

VCT2020 will be held online from 21-23 July 2020, click here for more information.

LocalEnergy 3rd project meeting

The 3rd project meeting of LocalEnergy, corresponding to the 12-month project meeting, took place on October 8, 2019 and was hosted by LNEG-Lumiar. During the meeting it was discussed the progress of the running work packages and of the forthcoming activities.

Meeting agenda available here.

LocalEnergy participation at CIG 2019

CIG 2019 - XII Congresso Ibérico de Geoquímica, took place in Évora, Portugal, from 22 – 26 September 2019, and was hosted by the University of Évora. LocalEnergy participated at CIG 2019 with one oral presentation entitled “The Barrigão copper deposit: tennantite-tetrahedrite for thermoelectric and high-technology applications”.

Collaboration of DGEG – Direção Geral de Energia e Geologia

LocalEnergy consortium and DGEG agreed to start developing collaboration activities within the framework of LocalEnergy project. This collaboration formally began in August 2019 with the inclusion of DGEG as “Collaborator Institution” without funding.

Lecture by Filipe Neves from LNEG

May 21, 2019 – 16h - 17h

We proudly invite you to join the lecture entitled “Local Resources for Multifunctional Tetrahedrite-based Energy-Harvesting Applications” that will be given by Filipe Neves at LNEG – May 21, 2019, 16:00 – 17:00. In this lecture an overview of the main research activities of LocalEnergy project will be presented.

Cost: Free
Event Category: Open to the public
Venue: LNEG, Auditório Solar XXI - Estrada do Paço do Lumiar, 22 - 1649-038 Lisboa

Advance registration is complimentary but required. Registration here.

Solar XXI Building.

Lecture by Professor António Gonçalves from C2TN

March 18, 2019 – 16h - 17h

We proudly invite you to join the lecture entitled “Thermoelectric materials for a sustainable development” that will be given by Professor António Gonçalves from C2TN at LNEG - Solar XXI Building.

Cost: Free
Event Category: Open to the public
Venue: LNEG, Auditório Solar XXI - Estrada do Paço do Lumiar, 22 - 1649-038 Lisboa

Advance registration is complimentary but required. Registration here.

Lecture summary: Thermoelectric materials can directly convert heat into electricity and vice-versa, having a huge potential to recover waste heat. However, to better contribute for a more sustainable development they should be environment friendly. We will start this talk by giving some basics on thermoelectrics. In a second part, recent results on novel thermoelectric materials will be presented.XXI

LocalEnergy participation at MATERIAIS 2019

MATERIAIS 2019, XIX Congresso da Sociedade Portuguesa de Materiais and X International Symposium on Materials, took place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 14 – 17 April 2019, and was hosted by the Rectorate of the NOVA University of Lisbon at “Campus de Campolide”. LocalEnergy actively participated at MATERIAIS 2019 with one oral presentation, one poster presentation and presence at the Satellite Event dedicated to projects dissemination. MATERIAIS 2019 explored the latest scientific and technical developments in Materials Science and Engineering, and related areas, bridging different knowledge domains under the scope of the main thematic “Materials for a Better Life”.

LocalEnergy Kick-off meeting

LocalEnergy started at 1 of October 2018 and the project’s kick-off meeting was hosted by LNEG-Lumiar, Lisbon, on October 4, 2018. With the participation of all partners this meeting allowed a complete and comprehensive discussion about the project planning and implementation.

Meeting agenda available here.

LocalEnergy 2nd project meeting

The 2nd project meeting of LocalEnergy, corresponding to the 6-month project meeting, took place on April 8, 2019 and was hosted by LNEG-Lumiar. During the meeting it was discussed the progress of the running work packages and of the forthcoming activities.

Meeting agenda available here.

LocalEnergy ResearchGate page

A project webpage has been created on the social networking site for scientists and researchers ResearchGate. This webpage will be used to share project updates such as papers, public results and special events.

Please click here to visit.


“Self-Cleaned Photonic-Enhanced Solar Cells with Nanostructured Parylene-C”

Pedro Centeno, Miguel F. Alexandre, Manuel Chapa, Joana V. Pinto, Jonas Deuermeier, Tiago Mateus, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, Hugo Águas, and Manuel J. Mendes

URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/admi.202000264

O depósito cuprífero do Barrigão: tenantite-tetraedrite para aplicações termoelétricas e de alta tecnologia

De Oliveira, D., Salgueiro, R., Silva, T.P., Reiser, F., Guimarães, F., Neves, F. “The Barrigão copper deposit: tennantite-tetrahedrite for thermoelectric and high-technology applications” CIG 2019, XII Congresso Ibérico de Geoquímica/XX Semana da Geoquímica, University of Évora, 22-26 September 2019, Évora, Portugal Extended Abstracts, Pages 255-258, (2019) Editores: Pedro Nogueira, Noel Moreira, José Roseiro, Miguel Maia, ISBN 978-972-778-121-8

URL: http://cig2019.uevora.pt/pt/images/CIG2019-%20Extended%20Abstracts.pdf

Preparation, thermal stability and electrical transport properties of vaesite, NiS2

H.M. Ferreira, E.B. Lopes, J.F. Malta, L.M. Ferreira, M.H. Casimiro, L Santos, M.F. Pereira, A. Pereira Gonçalves Preparation, thermal stability and electrical transport properties of vaesite, NiS2 7:e27825v1 (2019)

doi: https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27825v1

Colloidal-structured metallic micro-grids: High performance transparent electrodes in the red and infrared range

Giacomo Torrisi João S. Luis, Olalla Sanchez-Sobrado, Rosario Raciti, Manuel J. Mendes, Hugo Águas, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, Antonio Terrasi

Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 197 (2019) 7–12

doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solmat.2019.03.046

LocalEnergy flyer download available

The flyer summarizes the motivation and the main objectives of LocalEnergy project. Portuguese (PT) and English (ENG) electronic versions are available, and both can be downloaded here (PT version; ENG version). Besides the flyer we have developed a roll-up.


For more information please contact Dr. Filipe Neves or Dr. José Brito Correia:

Monday - Friday
9h00 > 12h30 - 14h00 > 17h30

+351 210 924 600 (ext. 4321)



LNEG - Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia
Estrada do Paço do Lumiar, 22
1649-038 Lisboa

© 2019 LocalEnergy