UP shines at Solar Energy Conference

Posted on February 03, 2014

Eight conference papers were presented by staff members and postgraduate students of the Thermoflow Research Group in UP's Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. The SASEC conference focused on Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Thermal technology, systems and applications. Approximately 200 delegates attended the conference.

The DST/NRF supports university research and development in renewable energy in the form of a hub and spokes model. The Solar Thermal Spoke is one of three spokes established in 2008 (the other two are the Wind Energy Spoke and the PV Spoke). The Solar Thermal Spoke has been tasked to conduct research in Solar Thermal Electricity generated by Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies.

The Solar Thermal Spoke has two partner universities which have been working together since 2008, namely the Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria. Both universities have distinct and complimentary research areas which enables good coverage of the important CSP research areas typically found in Europe and the USA.

Stellenbosch University focuses on systems and applied research in CSP. Their key focus areas are: power plant systems thermodynamics and condenser cooling; solar resource measurement, methods and spatial-temporal CSP systems modelling; solar collector and optical research; and thermal energy storage and heat transfer fluid research.

The University of Pretoria focuses on fundamental heat transfer applications that are important to solar heat exchangers so that the efficiency and power output of CSP systems can be improved or so that better systems can be developed. All eight the papers that were presented at the SASEC conference concentrated on these aspects.

The first SASEC conference was hosted in Stellenbosch in 2013 by Stellenbosch University and the second one in Port Elizabeth was organised by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). The organiser of the Third South African Solar Energy Conference (SASEC2015) to be hosted in 2015 will be Prof Josua Meyer, the Head of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of Pretoria. Prof Meyer also heads the Thermoflow Research Group of the University of Pretoria.


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