The energy industry’s interest in developing more efficient carbon-free energy sources is growing rapidly. Solar and wind energy are already used on a large scale for electricity generation, but fossil fuels dominate heavily in industrial process heat production. Thermal solar power is one of the few promising alternatives for producing renewable energy to meet industry’s need for process heating.
“In simple terms, thermal solar power can be described as a solar energy system where sunlight is captured by multiple mirrors and the solar energy is concentrated using a receiver similar to a satellite dish,” explains Professor Andersson. “In this project, we at University West will try to manufacture the ‘dish’ using welding-based additive manufacturing with different high-temperature materials.
“We hope that additive manufacturing for this application can bring new opportunities for tailoring more efficient solar energy systems.”
The research project is being run by Spanish solar energy equipment manufacturer Tewer Engineering. Alongside University West, other partners include the French coating technology company Promes-CNRS and the Swedish company Procada, which develops additive manufacturing technology for industry. The project has been granted funding via the EU’s Eurostar programme as part of Horizon 2020.
“Tewer contacted us at University West and invited us to join the project, as they knew about our additive manufacturing research. It will be interesting to see how our expertise within AM and high-temperature materials can be applied in the energy sector.
“This type of project is fully in line with our ambition that our production engineering research should increasingly relate to industry’s large-scale transformation. Sustainable production is central to addressing the global challenges faced by society.”
The High Thermal Inertia Solar Cavity Receiver Development (THICAV) research project will begin in June 2022.