Georgia Tech Faculty Win Research Awards to Advance Concentrated Solar Power

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Georgia Tech Faculty Win Research Awards to Advance Concentrated Solar Power

June 13, 2018
• Atlanta, GA

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Georgia Tech is part of a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiative to develop the next generation of concentrated solar power (CSP). Shown in Georgia Tech’s high-flux solar simulator facility are Peter Loutzenhiser, Devesh Ranjan and Zhuomin Zhang. (Credit: Candler Hobbs, Georgia Tech)

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are part of a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiative to develop the next generation of concentrated solar power (CSP), a technology that uses heat from the sun to turn power-generating turbines. CSP is an alternative to the better known photovoltaic technology, which produces electricity directly from sunlight.

Six Georgia Tech researchers will receive a portion of a $72 million DOE investment that will ultimately lead to construction and demonstration of an operating Generation 3 CSP facility. The Georgia Tech researchers will collect information on the thermophysical properties of molten salts used in concentrated solar facilities and study particle flows and heat transfer that may be part of thermal storage applications.

“Concentrated solar power is another option that allows us to generate electricity from sunlight,” said Shannon Yee, assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and one of the award recipients. “Concentrated solar allows storage of the sun’s heat, so we can generate electricity even when the sun isn’t shining – at night, for example.”

Concentrated solar facilities use mirrors to concentrate sunlight that is then captured by solar receivers installed at the top of towers. Some existing installations use the heat to generate steam, which then drives a turbine to produce electric power. Engineers want to operate the facilities at higher temperatures – 700 degrees Celsius or above – to more effectively use the concentrated sunlight from fields of mirrors (i.e., heliostat …

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