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Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Research and Development at the US Department of Energy
March 21, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Abstract: The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) research
and development (R&D) program supports early-stage research to improve the performance, reduce the
cost, and improve the lifetime and reliability of CSP materials, components, subsystems, and integrated
solutions. As opposed to solar PV, the value proposition of CSP is its ability to enable solar electricity on
demand through low-cost integration of thermal energy storage. Further, CSP systems use traditional
turbine-based heat engines, which are used to generate the majority of global electricity. This
combination of readily scalable energy storage and proven turbine technology has the ability to provide
reliable and flexible renewable electricity production. To enable a significant, market-driven deployment
of CSP in the United States SETO works to achieve the 2030 SunShot targets of $0.05 per kWh for a
baseload CSP plant with at least 12 hours of (TES) and $0.10 per kWh for a peaker CSP plant with a
maximum of six hours of TES. The over-all strategy and technological innovations being employed in
pursuit of these goals will be discussed.
Bio: Dr. Levi J. Irwin holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University. He has worked in the tech
industry for companies both large and small. He currently serves as a Technology Development Manger
on contract to the Solar Energy Technologies Office at the United States Department of Energy. In his
seven years of service Dr. Irwin has managed technologies addressing materials science challenges in
optical to thermal conversion, corrosion, energy storage, and heat transfer. He is a Subject Matter Expert,
Sr. Principal contracted through ManTech International Corp.