U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has selected six "transformational"energy research and development projects to receive $9.6 million fromthe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects round out the selections made by the Department of Energy‘s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
The projects include two solar research initiatives. Teledyne Scientific& Imaging LLC, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., received a $500,000award for its research of optofluidic solar concentrators. Currently,tracking of solar radiation in concentrated photovoltaic systems isprovided by mechanical means with multiple moving parts, which raisesreliability concerns, the DOE explains.
This project will develop an electrowetting-based dynamic liquid prism to track both the dailyand seasonal changes of the sun’s orbit for concentrating photovoltaicsand reduce capital costs through increased operational efficiency byeliminating bulky mechanical tracking, according to the DOE.
TheUniversity of California Los Angeles (UCLA) received $2.4 million infunding for its research of thermal energy storage with supercriticalfluids.
Two-tank molten salt is currently the preferredstate-of-the-art thermal energy storage for solar thermal power plants.The UCLA-led team will develop and implement a supercritical fluid-based thermal energy storage system that will potentially increase the energy density by over a factor of two compared to the two-tank molten saltsystem, with a cost less than 70% of the molten salt system.
Theproposals were reviewed based on scientific and technical merit and thepotential to dramatically advance national energy and economic goals. In addition to the projects ARPA-E selected as part of previous fundingopportunity announcements, these awards bring the organization’s totalto 121 high-risk projects funding through the Recovery Act.
SOURCE: U.S. Department Of Energy