SolarPACES 2020: First Announcement and Call for Papers

SolarPACES (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems) is pleased to announce the SolarPACES 2020 conference to be held from September 29 – October 2, 2020, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

SolarPACES is the premier international network advancing research, development, and commercial deployment of concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) and related technologies.

This year, our annual SolarPACES conference once again offers an excellent scientific and technical conference program, and provides an opportunity for industry, research, political and financing stakeholders and experts around the world to gather and share insights into recent R&D activities and new developments in CSP technology, with an additional focus on marketing and commercialization. The 2020 edition will offer a special focus on current US R&D activities and market perspectives in the CSP sector (see Chair´s welcome message).

Attendees will also have the opportunity to join the Technical Tours to visit Solana, the CSP plant in Arizona, and also to visit a globally renowned CSP research center: the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) at Sandia National Laboratories. Further details are available here; please follow up for updates. The famous Albuquerque balloon festival starts immediately after the conference, offering another exciting experience for conference attendees. However, this festival does attract many visitors, resulting in rising prices for nearby hotels and motels, so we recommend making your accommodation reservations as early as possible (see accommodation information).

SolarPACES 2020 Call for Papers
If you wish to present a paper, an extended abstract
should be submitted electronically providing clear information that allows us to determine the significance and quality of your work. Review criteria include originality, scientific and technical quality of the results, and relevance to the conference topics. The abstract template which serves as a guideline is available here. Please note that for this upcoming conference we encourage, as always, submission of full papers for accepted contributions for publication in the planned online proceedings with AIP, but don´t require this. The organizing committee may request a justification for non-submission of full papers, to include, for example, preliminary results that are currently being prepared for a journal publication or reviews of previously published work that haven’t been presented previously to this CSP community.

Conference Topics

  • Advanced materials, manufacturing, and components
  • Commercial Projects
  • Emerging and Disruptive Concepts
  • Measurement Systems, Devices, and Procedures
  • CSP Integration, Markets, and Policy
  • Power Cycles
  • Solar Industrial Process Heat and Thermal Desalination
  • Operations, Maintenance, and Component Reliability
  • Analysis and Simulation of CSP and Hybridized Systems
  • Solar Fuels and Chemical Commodities
  • Solar Resource Assessment
  • Thermal Energy Storage Materials, Media, and Systems
  • Solar Collector Systems
  • Receivers and Heat Transfer Media and Transport: Linear Systems
  • Receivers and Heat Transfer Media and Transport: Point Focus Systems

Please note the following important dates for SolarPACES 2020:

Abstract Deadline: May 1, 2020
Notification of Acceptance: June 15, 2020
Registration opens: July 15, 2020
Full Papers Due: August 10, 2020

Senior Researcher/Engineer position at CSIR: Energy System Modeller

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is a leading scientific and technology research organisation that researches, develops, localises and diffuses technologies to accelerate socio-economic prosperity in South Africa. The organisation’s work contributes to industrial development and supports a capable state.

Senior Researcher/Engineer: Energy System Modeller

About the job:

The CSIR has a vacancy for a Senior Researcher/Engineer in the Energy Centre within the Smart Places cluster. The incumbent will be responsible for growing and expanding the Centre’s capabilities in energy-systems planning, analysis and related modelling in the increasingly important area of complex energy systems to derive recommendations for the expansion and transformation of South African and Southern African energy systems.  Simultaneously, the candidate should research and establish recommendations for the Centre’s energy-technology research priorities.  This position is based in Pretoria, South Africa.

Key responsibilities:

  • Manage projects, research and investigations on energy modelling/planning and related topics;
  • Contribute to the formulating research questions and developing study assumptions and the provision of research direction to project teams/task teams/ workgroups on energy modelling and analysis in line with strategic direction of the Energy Centre;
  • Generate technical reports, articles, conference papers, journal articles and presentations aimed at energy sector clients, collaborators and partners locally and internationally focussed on technological developments;
  • Develop and implement processes, systems, tools and technologies to further the strategic direction of the CSIR Energy Centre;
  • Provide training and mentorship  on energy systems related topics to CSIR employees;
  • Contribute to the formulating of research proposals and developing relationships with potential clients and collaborators in the R&D around energy modelling related research locally and internationally.

Qualifications, skills and experience:

  • An Honours degree in engineering, science, mathematics, economics or any other related field with at least six years’ working experience in energy planning or modelling. A Masters or Doctorate degree will be advantageous;
  • Experience in working with a team of energy modellers and specifying energy models is essential;
  • The following experience and knowledge is essential:
  • Financial/economic modelling;
  • Knowledge of various energy systems modelling approaches including differentiation between optimisation and simulation approaches;
  • Modelling experience in PLEXOS;
  • Knowledge of other full-sector energy modelling frameworks;
  • Modelling experience and skills in energy planning tools/software;
  • Experience in scenario-based analysis as well as other planning approaches e.g. monte-carlo, scenario-wise decomposition.
  • Knowledge of the South African and Southern African energy systems (not just power sector);
  • Detailed knowledge of existing and planned energy policies, legislation, regulations, codes and standards in the power sector (knowledge of other energy sector policies, regulations, codes and standards is advantageous)
  • Ability to draft proposals, attract funding and lead project teams.

Closing date: 17 January 2020


To apply follow the link: https://www.csir.co.za/vacancies

Trainee or Intern engineer needed for Kathu Solar Park, Northern Cape

Kathu Solar Park project Company

ENGIE BU Africa is present in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Nairobi (Kenya), Rabat (Marroco) and Johannesburg (South Africa). The South African assets in operation are Avon and Dedisa are two thermal peaking power plant operated with a total capacity of 1 005MW, Aurora Wind farm 94 MW, Aurora and Vredendal PV plants of 21 MW.

ENGIE has a presence in South Africa since 1994, specifically in energy efficiency services, and is the country’s number 1 independent power producer. The Group aims to support the government in defining a balanced energy mix based on renewable energies (solar energy, wind power) and natural gas.

Kathu 100MW CSP Station is the first CSP project within ENGIE and as such is a high profile project for BU Africa and also for the group. The plant uses parabolic trough mirrors, providing energy to the heat transfer fluid that is used to raise steam for use in a conventional steam turbine and also provide energy to the molten salt thermal storage system. Commercial Operation Date was achieved 31 January 2019 and the electricity is sold to ESKOM.

Kathu is located in the Northern Cape of South Africa and is the CSP site is approximately 10km from the pleasant town. Kathu is 600km for Johannesburg and there are daily flights to the town. Historically Kathu has been a centre of iron ore mining, though the solar radiation, makes this location a world class site for CSP.

Purpose of the Job
The main goal of the intern/trainee engineer will be to be involved in some aspects of the following projects or activities under the supervision of the Lead Project Engineer :
• Prepare and manage Owner projects (new wells and borehole pumps, deluge system, panel replacement…),
• Follow up of the EPC obligations during the final acceptance testing period (punch list, guarantees..) until Final Acceptance Date, mirror black spot monitoring
• Follow up of the O&M Obligations and check reporting and documentation during the final acceptance testing period,
• Follow up of the Owner commitments during the final acceptance testing period regarding ESKOM, EPC, O&M,. Reply to CCTV request
• Manage contracts relating to Owner supply utilities (Nitrogen, water, electricity..),
• Follow the performance of the plant via the performance model and EPC/O&MCo obligations
• Contribute to the risks and opportunities identification,
• Participate to register for REC and CER follow up and by doing so improve the plant performance, protect our Project’s interests and sustainability in the respect of our contractual commitments, ethics rules, corporate policies, and environmental and societal responsibility.

The intern/trainee engineer will report to the Lead project engineer and will also closely interact with the O&M Co and the main Contractor.

Health; Safety and Environment (HSE)
The intern/trainee engineer will act and promote the Health and Safety culture at the construction site

• Degree Civil/Mechanical/Electrical Engineering or university degree.

• Preferable internship in OCGT, CCGT, coal, renewable, solar CSP or PV, biomass, wind

Specific Knowledge / skills
• Strong interpersonal skills, excellent communication, negotiation, coordination skills.
• Work in a multicultural environment and multidisciplinary teams.
• Resolve complex technical/ commercial issues.
• Work with IT systems like MS office, Document management software, etc…
• English language, Afrikaans and Spanish would be advantageous
• Valid Driver’s License
• Valid student visa

• South Africa/Kathu
• Accommodation will be provided and transportation to siteField: Operation
Duration : 4 to 6 months from Jan 2020
Schedule: Full-time

To apply please contact Cedric Faye at Cedric.Faye@kathusolarpark.co.za

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.

Dr Paul Gauché awarded the NIPMO Intellectual Property Creators Award 2019

Dr Paul Gauché, Manager of the CSP Department and the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Labs in the USA and founder of the Solar Thermal Energy Research Group (STERG) at the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University, was awarded the NIPMO Intellectual Property Creators Award in 2019.

Dr Gauché was awarded as the Top Intellectual Property Creator for his disclosures of concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies during his directorship at STERG. The award recognizes the most actionable disclosures at Stellenbosch University between 2010 and 2018. The disclosures were applauded as a tool to reduce the triple challenge of unemployment, inequality and poverty in South Africa.

Figure 1: Dr Willie Smit (centre) receiving the NIPMO award on behalf of Dr Paul Gauché from the Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane (left), and the Director-General: Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara (right)

The award was received by STERG’s Dr Willie Smit in Pretoria on 28.03.2019 during a gala dinner hosted by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

STERG would like to thank its founder Dr Paul Gauché for his contribution to growing the research group so rapidly into the today globally recognized entity. We further thank the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for the long standing support of our research and innovation, in particular Mr Somila Xosa and Ms Rebecca Maserumule.

We also thank the DST’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) for repeatedly supporting our technology development projects and supporting with the generation of IP and bringing it to life, most famously in the TIA Helio100 project. At Stellenbosch University we thank Ms Anita Nel and Mr Joubert de Wet of our tech transfer office InnovUS for the team spirit and the support in protecting and developing our innovation.