Solar Thermal and Concentrating Solar Power: Technology and Applications, December 2015

The EPSRC Centre in Ultra Precision were pleased to co-organise Solar Thermal Concentrating Solar Power: Technology and Applications led by Dr Chris Sansom, Associate Professor in Concentrating Solar Power at Cranfield University.

Solar Thermal (ST) and Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CST/CSP) technologies provide many challenges for engineers in the UK including the optimisation of manufacturing methods to reduce costs and the pursuit of new applications. The event took place on Tuesday 1 December 2015 at Cranfield University and focused on ST/CST activities in the UK. The day included presentations from academic and industrial experts based in the UK and Europe, providing a platform for discussion of how the UK can increase its activity in this truly global market.

The event was sponsored by the EU funded STAGE-STE project whose aim is to encourage collaboration between all stakeholders in the field of solar thermal energy technologies and was co-organised by the EPSRC Centre in Ultra Precision.

There was ample opportunity for networking, time to review current research and manufacturing activities in the UK, and at the end of the day participants were able to tour Cranfield University’s laboratories and workshops associated with solar energy research.

Cranfield University houses the only UK academic research team working exclusively on concentrating solar thermal and related technologies, with current projects including concentrating solar power for electrical power generation, solar collector characterisation and ageing evaluation, polymer films for solar power plant heliostats and line-focus solar collectors, linear Fresnel community scale CSP, heliostat design and manufacture, solar thermal heating and cooling, solar driven desalination and water purification, thermal storage, and nanostructured thermo-electric devices for energy harvesting. Current collaborations include work not only in the UK but also with Egypt, Italy, Spain, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, USA, and French Guiana.

Cranfield University is the sole UK representative on the EERA-Joint Committee on CSP which steers EU research in CSP, and has been approved through the DECC Technical excellence Framework as a supplier of solar thermal research and manufacturing technology.

The Global CSP Laboratory at Cranfield University also currently contains 10 PhD students and supervises 10 Masters student projects, all working on solar thermal technology, and also runs international short courses on Concentrating Solar Power and Renewable Energy Modelling.

Presentations on the day:

Prof Raj Roy, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University opened the event
Dr Chris Sansom, Associate Porfessor in Concentrating Solar Power, Cranfield University
Dr Nic Jarraud, Scientific Co-ordiantor, The Cyprus Institute
Prof Jose Endrino, Head of Surface Engineering and Nanotechnology Institute, Cranfield University
Dr Michael McCarthy, Head of the NPL Freeform Centre, National Physical Laboratory
Mr Simone Perini, LTP Associate, Larkfleet Group
Mr Opubo N Igobo, Researcher, Aston University
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Dr Matt Pearce, Director, Phycofeeds Limited