David Cygan, GTI R&D Manager and project team lead, has been invited to Washington D.C. on March 12 to present GTI’s hybrid solar energy system project at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2018 Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Congressional Showcase. At the event, members of Congress, their energy staffers, and other policymakers will gain insight into America’s future energy technologies.
Being invited to present to this audience is a distinguished honor that recognizes the great potential of this novel ultra-high-efficiency hybrid solar technology. GTI’s project was one of five projects in the nation to be chosen from a pool of several hundred ARPA-E projects focused on moving high-potential, high-impact transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.
The hybrid solar energy system project, funded by ARPA-E under the Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program, is aimed at advancing new technologies beyond current photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies. Disruptive new solar conversion and storage technology options can enable a much higher penetration of solar energy generation into the U.S. energy mix, overcoming high cost barriers to market adoption.
The breakthrough technology simultaneously generates electricity and high-temperature on-demand heat. It has the potential to enable production of renewable power at grid-competitive prices, along with high-quality thermal energy for power producers and industrial facility operators. The thermal energy is stored in inert particles for on-demand use. The new technology could play a role in opening the microgrid market for dispatchable electricity and solar energy use in industrial process heating.
The team composed of GTI, University of California at Merced (UC Merced), and MicroLink Devices, Inc. recently completed successful testing of the hybrid system and met critical ARPA-E project milestones. Based on cost-benefit analysis, the research team is proposing to scale up and demonstrate a 60 kW thermal-only collector with particle thermal energy storage for on-demand process heating at an industrial plant in California.
Financial support to develop this hybrid solar energy technology was also provided by Utilization Technology Development (UTD), a not-for-profit corporation and collaboration of nineteen industry-leading utilities that create, develop, test, demonstrate, and deploy new energy-efficient natural gas end-use technologies for their ratepayers, communities, and the environment.
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