Thayer School of Engineering News, September 2015
Professor Jifeng Liu and his research team have received a U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative award, the Energy Dept. announced today.
The award recognizes Professor Liu’s work to provide a lower cost, efficient alternative to conventional solar panel construction that can be applied on a large scale. The transformative invention involves reliable coating technologies that facilitate vacuum-free, high-efficiency, low-cost concentrated solar power (CSP) systems.
Conventional solar cells come with limited energy storage capacity and intermittency issues. CSP systems offer important energy storage advantages but have been held back by the expense of key components having to work under vacuum to avoid damaging oxidation.
Based on a novel metal nanostructure and ceramic matrix, the approach developed by Liu’s team provides optimal spectral selectivity along with long-term antioxidation protection while avoiding the need for costly vacuum deposition.
Liu and his team will collaborate with Norwich Solar, led by Drs. Troy McBride Th’01 and Joel Stettenheim, to scale up the antioxidation cermet coating and incorporate it into Norwich Solar’ novel SunTrap receiver systems.
“We are honored to receive this award,” says Liu. “This support will not only enable us to greatly advance our air-stable, high-temperature solar selective coating technology but also expedite its commercial applications by integrating it with Norwich Technologies’ novel SunTrap CSP receiver.” Vice President Joe Biden is announcing the SunShot Initiative awards at Solar Power International in Anaheim, California.