Skip to Content
Browse Solar Thermal Marketing Summaries

Solar Thermal Technology Marketing Summaries

Here you'll find marketing summaries of concentrating solar power and solar heating technologies available for licensing from U.S. Department of Energy laboratories and participating research institutions. The summaries provide descriptions of the technologies including their benefits, applications and industries, and development stage.

39 Technology Marketing Summaries
CategoryTitle and AbstractLaboratoriesDate
Find More Like This
Early Stage R&DLinearly Polarized Thermal Emitter for More Efficient Thermophotovoltaic Devices

Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices can be used to generate power from photons, and consist of a thermal emitter and photodiode. These limitations of photovoltatic (PV) devices solar cells—since sunlight is composed of many different wavelengths, not all incident photons have an energy larger than the energy band gap (Eg) of the semiconducting material of the photodiode and thus, not all photons can contribute to the photo-current. If the thermal emitter of a TPV can absorb all incoming... read more

04/21/2014
Updated!
Find More Like This
Thermal Imaging Technique for Measuring Mixing of Fluids

There are multiple methods for measuring fluid flow. Current methods rely on different physical principles such as: pressure measurement, particle tracking using images, heat removal from a wire and Doppler shift measurements. However, infrared images are not used to quantitatively measure flow properties, fluid mixing, or mass concentration of fluids.

These existing techniques for measuring two dimensional velocity fields, such as particle image velocimetry (PIV), require expensive and... read more

03/03/2014
New!
Find More Like This
Sol-Char: Producing Char from Waste using Solar Energy

A recent “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” put forth by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for researchers to develop sanitation solutions that are affordable and desirable to use, render fecal waste harmless within a short time-span, are self-contained without the need for flush water or electricity, and produce valuable end products. Current waterless toilets – such as dry pit latrines, ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, and composting toilets – fall... read more

01/08/2014
Find More Like This
dlCC Opt: Optimization Software for Renewable Energy Projects

There are numerous options for renewable energy systems development. Location, size, type of system, and a number of other criteria need to be considered. The objective of this program is to determine the optimal size (capacity, Kilowatt (kW)) of a renewable energy generator, based on minimizing life cycle cost (LCC).

The reason for developing such a program is driven by three major issues. First, the need to evaluate a very large number (tens of thousands) of project opportunity sites.... read more

11/27/2013
Find More Like This
SolOPT: PV and Solar Hot Water Hourly Simulation Software Tool

In order to increase the speed and scale of Renewable Energy (RE) solar project deployment on buildings, energy savings analysis and a strong business case is required. This software provides an hourly simulation to optimize rooftop area for combined solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar hot water (SHW) systems or solely PV. The program calculates energy savings, demand reduction, cost savings, C02 reduction, and building life cycle costs including: simple payback, discounted payback,... read more

11/04/2013
Find More Like This
Rapid Solar-Thermal Conversion of Biomass to Syngas

The invention provides processes that perform biomass gasification or pyrolysis for production of hydrogen, synthesis gas, liquid fuels, or other hydrocarbon based chemicals. The methods of the invention use solar thermal energy as the energy source for the biomass pyrolysis or gasification. This allows operation at temperatures above 950 degrees C, speeding up reaction kinetics and shifting thermodynamics to various reaction end products, thus, bypassing the formation of tars and other... read more

10/17/2013
Find More Like This
Solar-Thermal Fluid-Wall Reaction Processing

Currently most hydrogen is produced through a process of heating natural gas with water vapor called steam reforming. This process requires energy to heat the gasses and produces greenhouse gases such as CO2 as its byproducts. These conditions confine steam reforming to large industrial plants requiring trucks to transport the hydrogen to users, since most population centers have regulations that prohibit such high levels of CO2.

10/17/2013
Find More Like This
Solar and Moon Position Algorithm (SAMPA)

This algorithm calculates the solar and lunar zenith and azimuth angles in the period from the year -2000 to 6000, with uncertainties of +/- 0.0003 degrees for the Sun and +/- 0.003 degrees for the Moon, based on the date, time, and location on Earth.

10/16/2013
Find More Like This
Fast, Efficient Isothermal Redox to Split Water or Carbon Dioxide using Solar Energy

A University of Colorado research team led by Alan Weimer has developed a technique for a substantially isothermal hercynite cycle, in which the entire reaction cycle is performed isothermally at 1200-1400°C (though the cycle can be performed at temperatures as low as 940°C). Because no significant heating or cooling is required between the respective cycles, the hercynite cycle allows faster, more efficient cycling and less wear on the equipment and materials used for the process.... read more

10/14/2013
Find More Like This
FirstOPTIC Software Package for Parabolic Trough Evaluation

Parabolic trough collectors are one of the main concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies used in commercial utility-scale power generation plants. A key param­eter for trough performance evaluation is the collector optical efficiency, which is the ratio of the absorbed solar power by the receiver to that intercepted by the collector aperture. This has a direct influence on annual electricity generation, annual plant revenue, and, eventually, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE).

Th... read more

10/14/2013
Find More Like This
Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT)

With growing numbers of solar energy systems being proposed and installed throughout the United States, the potential impact of glint and glare from photovoltaic modules, concentrating solar collectors, receivers, and other components is receiving increased attention as a potential hazard or distraction for pilots, air-traffic control personnel, motorists, and residents. Hazards from reflection of solar radiation from solar power plants include the potential for permanent eye injury (e.g.,... read more

07/18/2013
Find More Like This
Water Based Process for Fabricating Thermoelectric Materials

Berkeley Lab scientists Rachel Segalman, Jeffrey Urban and Kevin See have invented a water based process to make thermoelectric films. The resulting composite film displays both the high thermovoltage expected of nanocrystals and the high electrical conductivity of polymers—a beneficial pairing of traits. These traits can counteract in conventional thermoelectric materials to limit a thermoelectric device’s efficiency and economic utility.

04/30/2013
Find More Like This
Linearly Polarized Thermal Emitter for More Efficient Thermophotovoltaic Devices

Ames Laboratory researchers have developed fabrication methods for a polarized thermal emitter than can be used to create more efficient thermophotovoltaic devices for power generation.

04/22/2013
Find More Like This
Aligned Crystalline Silicon (ACSi)
This technology, which produces thin films that approach the high-performance aspects of single-crystalline silicon, has been proven and replicated in the laboratory and results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal [Findikoglu et al., Adv. Mater. 17, 1527 (2005)].
04/04/2013
Find More Like This
Diffraction: Enhanced Light Absorption of Solar Cells and Photodetectors
The solar and photovoltaic industry has grown steadily over the last several years.  In order to maintain these growth rates, the processes and methods need to be continuously improved.  Sandia National Laboratories has created a method for enhanced light absorption of solar cells and photodetectors in a narrowband or wideband spectral absorption.
03/19/2013
Find More Like This
Solar Reflection Panels
There has long been a need for a low cost, high-performing solar collector that will allow solar thermal power to compete with other power sources.  While advancements have been made, a need for a cost effective and durable solar collector still exists.  Sandia National Laboratories has developed a solar collector that is more efficient, utilizes advanced and low cost manufacturing process, and has good optical properties.
03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Solar Selective Absorption Coatings
Sandia has developed a new class of solar selective absorber coatings that significantly improve the thermal conversion efficiency of solar units by reducing radiative energy losses from the absorbing elements.  Solar absorption coatings applied to components haave considerable utility in the design of solar thermal flatplan collectors and of solar concentrators.
03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Non-Invasive Energy Meter
Sandia has developed an energy monitoring device that measures energy from liquid flow systems (e.g., solar systems) using a simple technique that senses when the system is running and then estimates the BTU energy production. Current energy meters must be installed into the system to measure how much energy the system is producing or losing. This involves cutting pipes, installing thermal wells, and flow meters, and/or connecting sensors to pump motors in the system. This often requires... read more
03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Molten Salt Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF)

Sandia has developed a heat transfer fluid (HTF) for use at elevated temperatures that has a lower freezing point than any molten salt mixture available commercially. This allows the HTF to be used in applications in which the expensive parasitic energy costs necessary for freeze protection can be significantly reduced. The higher operating temperature limit significantly increases power cycle efficiency and overall power plan sun-to-net electric efficiency.

03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Early Stage R&DImproved Method to Measure Glare and Reflected Solar Irradiance

Sandia has developed a cheap, efficient, and accurate method of measuring the irradiance from solar reflections using a digital camera. Measurements of reflected solar irradiance is of great importance to industry, military, and government agencies to assess potential impacts of glint and glare from growing numbers of solar power installations around the world. In addition, this measurement technique can be used to monitor and maintain system performance for concentrating solar power... read more

03/12/2013
Find More Like This
TOPCAT Solar Cell Alignment & Energy Concentration Technology
This technology is a new technique for parabolic trough mirror alignment based on the use of an innovative Theoretical Overlay Photographic (TOP) approach. It is a variation of current methods used on parabolic dish systems and involves overlay of theoretical images of the Heat Collection Element (HCE) in the mirrors onto carefully surveyed photographic images and adjustment of mirror alignment until they match.
03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Rapid Solar Mirror Characterization with Fringe Reflection Techniques
This technology is an automated system in which the reflection of a mirror, typically for solar applications, is characterized by the slope and slope errors. The system uses a video camera and a PC to create fringe patterns from the reflection of the mirror. These patterns can characterize and better assess the quality of the mirrors for solar applications in a more automated process.
03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Solar Tracing Sensors for Maximum Solar Concentrator Efficiency
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) relies on thermodynamic processes to convert concentrated light into useful forms of energy. Accurate sun tracking enables higher concentration ratios and improved efficiency through higher temperature processes and lower losses.
03/12/2013
Find More Like This
Early Stage R&DSuperhydrophobic Transparent Glass Thin Films
Glass used in building materials (curtain walls), windshields, goggles, glasses,
optical lenses, and similar applications must be durable and transparent. To meet
this challenge, ORNL researchers have invented a method to produce durable,
superhydrophobic, antireflective glass thin films for coating such surfaces.
Other processes exist for producing materials with the desired qualities,
including superhydrophobic and antimicrobial surfaces; however, in most cases
the resulting materials exhibit poor... read more
09/24/2012
Find More Like This
Superhydrophobic Thin Film Coatings
Exploiting its expertise with thin films and superhydrophobic materials, ORNL has developed a simple, inexpensive way to apply and reliably bond superhydrophobic powder to various substrates, creating coatings that are both transparent and water repellant.

09/24/2012
Find More Like This
Nanoparticle-Enhanced Ionic Liquids (NEILs)

A good HTF must be able to absorb a substantial amount of energy in a given volume, a property known as volumetric heat capacity. Physical properties such as viscosity, thermal stability, and thermal conductivity must also be considered. Ionic liquids (IL) were discovered more than 30 years ago and are organic compounds with negligible vapor pressure. ILs are molten salts with low melting points below 100°C, high liquid range above 400°C, in some cases, freezing points below 0°C.... read more

09/10/2012
Find More Like This
Process for Fabrication of Efficient Solar Cells
Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for fabrication of solar cells with increased efficiency. 
03/23/2012
Find More Like This
Creation of Light and/or Surface Plasmons with Heated Metallic Films

Thin Metal Film Plasmonic Device

Ultrasmooth thin metal films with a nanoscale bull’s eye pattern of circular concentric grooves produce a monochromatic beam of collimated light when heated. The plasmonic device can be made from different metals such as tungsten, gold and silver or other combinations of materials. The wavelength of the emitted light can be tuned by changing the metal and the spacing of the concentric grooves of the bull’s eye pattern. The monochromatic... read more

03/13/2012
Find More Like This
Binary Cultivation in Photobioreactors
Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a new approach to converting solar energy, water, and CO2 into small molecule precursors, fatty acids, lipids, proteins, and other value-added products. The approach uses binary cultivation—inside photobioreactors—to facilitate growth by creating a closed system in which the metabolic by-products of one organism are used to fuel the metabolism in the other.
02/08/2012
Find More Like This
Low-cost, Modular, Building-integrated Photovoltaic-Thermal Collector

Buildings consume approximately 40% of the energy, and nearly 70% of the electricity used in the United States. Building surfaces are well suited to renewable energy production. The surface area of a typical residence is large enough to produce the electricity required to operate the building. However, in order to achieve net-zero energy use, solar thermal collectors are often required to produce hot water for domestic and space heating needs or pre-heated ventilation air.
Current problems... read more

12/16/2011
Find More Like This
Linearly Polarized Thermal Emitter for More Efficient Thermophotovoltaic Devices
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed fabrication methods for a polarized thermal emitter than can be used to create more efficient thermophotovoltaic devices for power generation.
09/09/2011
Find More Like This
Heat Transfer Interface for Thermo-Solar Energy
Alex Zettl of Berkeley Lab has invented a high efficiency solar energy collector and converter. By addressing both solar absorption and heat transfer elements, the resulting technology promises to be more efficient than conventional thermo-solar energy methods.
06/13/2011
Find More Like This
Efficient Polymer Solar Cells
Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for producing more efficient polymer solar cells by increasing light absorption through a thin and uniform light-absorbing layer deposited on a textured substrate. 
03/28/2011
Find More Like This
Fabrication of Emissible Metallic Layer-by-Layer Photonic Crystals Using Microtransfer Molding with Electro-Deposition
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method for increasing the efficiency of conventional incandescent light bulbs.
12/16/2010
Find More Like This
Hydrogen Removal From Heating Oil of a Parabolic Trough Increases the Life of the Trough and its Components
Parabolic trough power plants use concentrated solar thermal energy to generate electricity by producing steam that drives a Rankine power cycle. Solar thermal energy is captured in a fluid medium which flows through receiver tubes. At high temperatures the vapor generates hydrogen gas which can leak into the annular volume of the heat collection element. The presence of low partial pressures of hydrogen gas in the annulus significantly decreases the thermal performance of the heat... read more
07/28/2010
Find More Like This
Harvesting Energy from Abundant, Low Quality Sources of Heat
The basic concept of energy harvesting is to collect energy from solar or other free sources of thermal energy that exist in the environment and convert them to electricity. In principle, this technique could provide power from low quality sources of energy such as waste heat at low temperatures. A collaboration between LLNL and UCLA has demonstrated that a bulk compound thermoelectric laminate can convert thermal energy to electricity. If produced as a thin-film material and operated at high... read more
02/03/2010
Find More Like This
Direct Conversion of Light into Work
Alex Zettl, Jean M. J. Fréchet, and a team of Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a mechanism for converting solar energy directly into mechanical work, thus eliminating the need for capital-intensive energy storage and distribution facilities.
02/02/2010
Find More Like This
Solar Position Algorithm (SPA)

This algorithm calculates the solar zenith and azimuth angles in the period from the year -2000 to 6000, with uncertainties of +/- 0.0003 degrees based on the date, time, and location on Earth. (Reference: Reda, I.; Andreas, A., Solar Position Algorithm for Solar Radiation Applications, Solar Energy. Vol. 76(5), 2004; pp. 577-589).

02/02/2010
Find More Like This
Transpired Solar Collector
Unglazed solar collectors have been used in the past for preheating ventilation air for a building. These solar collectors typically include a dark absorber panel, positioned to face the sun, and a plenum or air collection space into which the heated air is drawn through perforations or holes in the absorber panel. The movement of air is often aided by fans or some source of suction to draw the air into the plenum and distribute it throughout the building. It was believed that absorbers had... read more
02/02/2010