Complex Made Simple

Masdar Institute’s expanding solar research featured through record 15 abstracts

Conference committee chooses Abu Dhabi as host for SolarPaces 2016

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, announced that its faculty and students presented 14 abstracts – nine oral presentations and five posters – at the 21st Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES) Conference in South Africa.

Masdar Institute has also submitted a 15th abstract, in collaboration with Shams Power Company, one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants owned by Masdar, at the event.

The high number of presentations was a record for Masdar Institute at this conference, which remains the most important event in the concentrated solar Power (CSP) field. All abstracts were related to concentrated solar power (CSP) or/and thermal energy storage (TES). SolarPACES was held from 13-16 October 2015 in Cape Town, and served as a forum for industry, researchers, politics and financing stakeholders within the framework of a scientific conference program with leading global experts. The conference later chose Abu Dhabi as the venue for next year’s event in October 2016.

One of the abstracts covers the concentrated solar power on demand (CSPonD) project in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A flagship project of the two institutions, this is focused on developing a novel single tank thermal energy storage and power production system.

Dr Steve Griffiths, Vice President for Research, Masdar Institute, said, “Such a high number of abstracts from Masdar Institute faculty members and students reflects the quality and international relevance of the CSP and TES research taking place at the institute. With our continuing commitment to supporting Abu Dhabi’s strategic goals relating to renewable energy uptake and the development of our future energy sector, I am confident Masdar Institute will continue to have a leading role in international research events like SolarPACES.”

Masdar Institute’s participation in SolarPACES 2015 was led by Dr. Nicolas Calvet, Assistant Professor, Thermal Energy Storage Research Group Leader and Chair of the Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP). Another faculty, Dr. TieJun Zhang, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering program, collaborated with Shams Power Company, for the paper titled ‘Water Recovery in a Concentrated Solar Power Plant’, a joint work funded by the UAE National Research Foundation – University-Industry Research Collaboration Award.

The papers were presented by Dr Benjamin Grange, a post-doctoral researcher, Research Engineer Djawed Belasri, and PhD student Miguel Diago. One abstract was also presented by the group of Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director, Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (RECREMA).

Dr. Calvet said, “Masdar Institute’s significant participation in SolarPACES shows our increasing activity in the research and development of CSP and the activity of the MISP. With our planned stream of research and collaboration taking place at MISP and iEnergy, we hope to be presenting even more exciting research at next year’s SolarPACES Conference.”

MISP continues to get wider industry recognition and is engaged with several stakeholders through collaborations. Some of international partners of MISP include EnergyNest AS (formerly NEST AS), Heidelberg Cement, Siemens AG, Dow Chemical, SQM, National Instruments, Shams Power, and Ibiden Co. Ltd. Dedicated to the development of CSP components, and high-temperature thermal energy storage (TES) solutions, the MISP at Masdar Institute is unique in its configuration as it is adapted to research, especially on storage. Earlier this year, MISP became one of the 3 finalists under the ‘CSP Technology Innovation for MENA 2015’ category for the MENASOL Awards 2015.

The Masdar Institute abstracts were titled: ‘Masdar Institute Solar Platform: a new research facility in the UAE for development of CSP components and thermal energy storage systems,’ ‘1 MWh-concrete based thermal energy storage system testing at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform,’ ‘Thermal and mechanical properties characterization of high temperature concrete for CSP applications,’ ‘Validation of an optical model applied to the Beam Down CSP facility at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform,’ ‘Concentrated solar power on demand demonstration: construction and operation of a 25 kW-prototype,’ ‘Optical model of a complex beam down concentrator system using TracePro™,’ ‘Effect of sand and moisture on molten salts properties for open direct absorption solar receiver/storage system’, ‘Thermal modeling of a secondary concentrator integrated to a direct-absorption molten salt volumetric receiver in a beam-down tower configuration,’ ‘Performance Measurement of New SiC Coated Reflectors for Concentrated Solar Applications,’ ‘Experimental investigation of a direct absorption gravity-fed solid particle receiver for beam down CSP applications,’ ‘Characterization of desert sand as sensible heat thermal energy storage media,’ ‘Evaluation of Sulfur as Thermal Energy Storage Medium,’ ‘Industrial waste materials and by-products as thermal energy storage (TES) materials: A review,’ and ‘Parabolic trough collector power plant performance simulation for an interactive solar energy atlas in Saudi Arabia,’ and ‘Water recovery in a concentrated solar power.’

SolarPACES is an international cooperative network bringing together teams of national experts from around the world to focus on the development and marketing of concentrating solar power systems.