This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $24 million to ten research teams “that will advance next-generation concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) technologies, which utilize the sun to generate heat for electricity production and industrial processing,” including the University of Florida (UF).
UF will get $2.2 million to “design and validate a highly efficient and scalable solar thermochemical reactor to produce hydrogen from water and sunlight.”
The project at UF is one of five that “will focus on advancing industrial uses for this technology, specifically in the cement, hydrogen, and chemicals sectors, and help advance the goals laid out in DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap and recently launched Industrial Heat Shot.” The five projects will get more than $13 million in total while the other projects getting funds “will support DOE’s $100 million ongoing efforts to develop next-generation CSP plants, which can generate low-cost electricity at any time of day.”
U.S. Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm weighed in on the funds this week.
“Solar-thermal technologies provide us with a significant opportunity to upgrade and reduce emissions of industrial plants across the nation while meeting America’s energy needs with reliable, around the clock power generation,” said Granholm. “DOE’s investments will drive the innovation necessary to build out a clean energy economy and meet our climate goals while diversifying the sources of dependable and readily available clean energy.”
“CSP technologies, which use mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver, can be used to generate electricity using a turbine, but the same technologies can also be applied to deliver heat to a variety of industrial applications, like water desalination, food processing, chemical production, and mineral processing,” the DOE noted. “The awardees will research, develop, and demonstrate projects that can decarbonize the energy sector by developing CSP technologies for higher efficiency power cycles, increased flexibility and reliability through thermal storage, and carbon-free industrial processes in the United States.”
UF is the only recipient in Florida of this round of DOE fund
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