Exploring new technologies to minimize water use at solar facilities
This team is working to improve thermal cycles and power plant dry-cooling which will result in less water needed for cooling and less land area needed for solar development, which will result in less environmental impact and better economics for the system. They are also developing new ways to minimize water use in solar energy by understanding and controlling dust generation and soiling of panels and mirrors; using dust-repelling nanomaterials for application on panels and mirrors; understanding dust accumulation using remote sensing; and determining impacts of panel cleaning on soil and runoff. The activities are interdependent since knowledge of how dust soils panels and mirrors will provide insight into the type of materials that could be used to avoid soiling and lead to effective cleaning strategies. The six specific research tasks include:
- Minimize cooling and cleaning water use through improvements to the power plant (Boehm and Chen)
- Develop high temperature durable solar absorbing coatings (Moon)
- Dust deposition and removal from panels and mirrors (Etyemezian and Steinberg)
- Use nanotechnology to mitigate dust accumulation (Das and Kim)
- Use remote sensing to detect particle deposition on panels and mirrors (Yfantis)
Equipment in Nevada Nanotechnology Center that is being used for the fabrication of nanostructures for water-less cleaning of solar panels.