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ASME ES 2020 Call for Abstracts

ES 2020, the ASME 14th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, will be in Denver, USA from June 8 – 10, 2020.

The Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) track chairs for ES 2020, invite you to submit your technical paper abstracts by November 7, 2019. For those wishing to submit a presentation-only abstract, these are due by March 1, 2020. We would like to encourage participation from the broader CSP R&D community, including academia, national labs & industry.

Conference tracks that relate to CSP:

Nexus: Energy, Water and Climate

Energy Storage

Concentrating Solar Power

Solar Chemistry

Solar Desalination and Industrial Process Heat

Emerging Technologies

Conference Keynotes, Plenaries and Panels

Conference Posters

Within the CSP track, we encourage a wide range of topics, including:

Gen3 CSP

SunShot 2030 and meeting $0.05/kWh for baseload power

Thermal Energy Storage

Long Duration Storage

Hybrid Concepts including Pumped Thermal Energy Storage with CSP

High Temperature Thermochemistry and Process Heat

Solar Collectors and Optics

Receivers

Power Cycles including sCO2

Distributed CSP Concepts

Autonomy, Machine Learning and AI

Materials and Manufacturing for CSP

System Integration

System Demonstration

Plant Operations and Maintenance

Visit https://event.asme.org/ES to submit your abstract.

STERG represented at SolarPACES 2019

The SolarPACES 2019 (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems) conference was held in the beautiful city of Daegu, South Korea where three master’s students from STERG attended the four-day conference and presented their work to the top researchers in the field. The goal of attending such a conference is to share research, build relationships with industry leaders and learn more about the current trends in CSP.

Several exciting concepts and studies were presented, with significant interest given to falling particle receivers, PV & CSP hybrid concepts as well as optimisation of central receiver systems.

Energy storage systems were also a hot topic and often highlighted as CSP’s most important asset. It was repeatedly demonstrated that thermal storage is the most cost-effective solution for capacities greater than 3 hours, while electrochemical batteries were better suited for quick-response and mobile storage applications. Furthermore, the DLR outlined a plan to retrofit Germany’s existing coal stations into “Carnot batteries” which would store excess energy generated by renewable energy in the form of thermal energy (steam or molten salt) using high-temperature heat pumps. This energy could be used directly to supply heating or drive a thermal power process to generate electricity on demand.

On the trend of storage, several studies investigated solar fuels or other power-to-gas applications that make use of high-temperature reactions facilitated by CSP. These fuels are generally synthesised from H2 and CO2 extracted from the air, making them a carbon neutral fuel source.

A highlight of the conference, the technology innovation award, was presented to Vast Solar from Australia for their work on a modular central receiver tower system using liquid sodium as a working fluid which enables greater reliability and higher working temperatures. Their concept allows for faster construction with smaller teams and enables higher optical efficiency by using polar heliostat field layouts.

Vast Solar’s modular tower design that won SolarPACES 2019 technology innovation award

Sandia demonstrated plans for its third generation CSP particle pilot plant (G3P3) using particle-receivers to heat a super-critical CO2 working fluid to > 700°C with molten salt thermal storage.

As with any conference, you’re bound to run into a couple of familiar faces and this year we met SU alumni, Paul Gauché and Willem Landman, who were both actively involved with STERG in the past. Paul is the founder of STERG and currently the manager of the CSP Department and the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Labs.  Willem is currently working at the CSP division of Schlaich Bergermann Partner (SBP) where he is reimagining heliostat field optimisation and design. His work pushes the idea that unconventional methods can be used to improve existing concepts/ideas.

The conference was a success and we would highly recommend students make the most of this opportunity if given the chance. The next conference, SolarPACES 2020, will be held at Sandia national labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A special thanks to STERG, CRSES and our supervisors for funding this opportunity, without which it would not have been possible.

Familiar faces at SolarPACES 2019 with STERG founder, Paul Gauché, pictured at the poster session

STERG Bursary applications open

The Solar Thermal Energy Research Group is now accepting bursary applications for 2020.

The bursary is intended to support research aligned with the interests of the research group, concentrating solar power and solar thermal applications.

For more information click HERE.

STERG Technical Tour 2019

From the 8th to 12th of July 2019, STERG embarked on its first technical tour since 2017.  The tour is aimed at giving students unique access to renewable energy generation plants in South Africa, with a focus on concentrating solar power (CSP).  In collaboration with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), a group of 22 Master’s and PhD students, accompanied by professors and academic staff, travelled from Stellenbosch to the Northern Cape.

STERG delegation at Bokpoort CSP plant – a 50 MW parabolic trough plant

The plants visited include CSP parabolic trough (Xina solar one, Bokpoort CSP), CSP power tower (Khi solar one), photovoltaic (Scatec solar) and a concentrated solar power plant (Touws River CPV).  Some of the plants were still in construction and others have been in operation for some time, presenting students with different perspectives of the industry.  The tour allows students to see these power stations first-hand and engage in discussions with operators and engineers, which is something that the general public does not have access to.

The tour was an overall success, and it continues to promote a good relationship with the renewable energy industry.

We would like to thank our hosts at each power plant for making the time to accommodate such a large group and answering all our eager questions.  Thank you to the CRSES for sponsoring part of the costs of the tour.

We look forward to the next tour in 2020!