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US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced today that the DOE has selected the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Arizona for its new US$10 million investment through the SunShot Initiative. The projects aim to advance CSP system technologies by improving heat transfer fluids, which in turn help to increase the efficiencies and lower the costs of CSP systems.
The projects are working to develop heat transfer fluids that can operate at temperatures up to 2,350°F, while at the same time maintaining high performance levels. The UCLA team will receive US$5 million over five years and will lead a team of researchers from Yale University and the University of California Berkeley to investigate liquid metals as potential heat transfer fluids with the ability to withstand higher temperatures.
The University of Arizona, which will also receive US$5 million over five years, is teaming with researchers from Arizona State University and Georgia Tech to develop and demonstrate new, molten salt-based fluids as possible alternatives to traditional heat transfer fluids.
“Advanced concentrating solar power systems represent a promising pathway for utilities to provide reliable, affordable solar electricity to American families and businesses,” said Secretary Chu. “The investments made today as part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy will help accelerate commercialization of new, lower cost renewable energy technologies and diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.”