APPENDIX A
Statement of Task

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The Energy Engineering Board proposes to conduct an independent assessment of the potential of concentrated solar energy, and to recommend the research paths for innovative applications of solar thermal technology in areas, other than generating electricity, relating to national needs. Since its inception in 1975, DOE's Solar Thermal Technology Program has emphasized research on those technologies which concentrate solar radiation and convert it into heat energy for both thermal and electricity applications. Other very promising applications of concentrated sunlight have not yet been explored fully. In addition to applications using only heat energy, other energy-intensive industrial processes could exploit powerful photon beams. These new opportunities include surface modifications of metals, the severing of molecular bonds, and solar pumping of lasers. This study would identify photon/matter interaction phenomena underlying the use of concentrated solar flux and assess the status of research activities in this area of photochemistry. Particular attention will be paid to areas that address national needs and have the potential for being cost-effective through research and development.

As part of its study, the Board would organize and conduct a workshop to support a review of fundamental phenomena related to photon/matter interaction and to critically evaluate promising new non-electric applications, identify important lines of research that would support eventual development, and to assess how DOE Solar Thermal research facilities can foster such research.

The study would help define research necessary for the technical basis for industrial development of new energy-intensive applications of solar thermal technology. The study will assist the sponsoring agency by providing recommendations for research directions for the DOE Solar Thermal Technology Program in applying concentrated sunlight to photon/matter interactions. To obtain the required objectivity in organizing and conducting such a study, DOE has asked the Energy Engineering Board for assistance.



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OCR for page 55
Potential Applications of Concentrated Solar Photons APPENDIX A Statement of Task SCOPE OF THE STUDY The Energy Engineering Board proposes to conduct an independent assessment of the potential of concentrated solar energy, and to recommend the research paths for innovative applications of solar thermal technology in areas, other than generating electricity, relating to national needs. Since its inception in 1975, DOE's Solar Thermal Technology Program has emphasized research on those technologies which concentrate solar radiation and convert it into heat energy for both thermal and electricity applications. Other very promising applications of concentrated sunlight have not yet been explored fully. In addition to applications using only heat energy, other energy-intensive industrial processes could exploit powerful photon beams. These new opportunities include surface modifications of metals, the severing of molecular bonds, and solar pumping of lasers. This study would identify photon/matter interaction phenomena underlying the use of concentrated solar flux and assess the status of research activities in this area of photochemistry. Particular attention will be paid to areas that address national needs and have the potential for being cost-effective through research and development. As part of its study, the Board would organize and conduct a workshop to support a review of fundamental phenomena related to photon/matter interaction and to critically evaluate promising new non-electric applications, identify important lines of research that would support eventual development, and to assess how DOE Solar Thermal research facilities can foster such research. The study would help define research necessary for the technical basis for industrial development of new energy-intensive applications of solar thermal technology. The study will assist the sponsoring agency by providing recommendations for research directions for the DOE Solar Thermal Technology Program in applying concentrated sunlight to photon/matter interactions. To obtain the required objectivity in organizing and conducting such a study, DOE has asked the Energy Engineering Board for assistance.

OCR for page 55
Potential Applications of Concentrated Solar Photons STUDY PLAN THE STUDY IS EXPECTED TO: Assess the knowledge base for photon/matter interaction phenomena underlying the use of concentrated solar flux for prospective new non-electric applications; Critically evaluate the merits of potential new applications for both near-and long-term use of concentrated solar energy, particularly those applications that address national needs and have the potential for being cost-effective through research and development; and Recommend research paths and priorities to enhance the scientific basis of, and increase the potential for, the development of successful applications. THE COMMITTEE WILL PERFORM THE FOLLOWING TASKS: Task 1.0: Identification of Promising Phenomena and Applications Review relevant domestic and international activities in relevant fields of science and engineering. This will include a critical review of the understanding of photon/matter interaction phenomena underlying the use of concentrated solar flux, as well as a critical evaluation of the relative merits of potential new energy and industrial applications of concentrated solar flux. This review and evaluation will be with an emphasis on defining research that will lead to further understanding of the basic phenomena necessary for future cost-effective applications having high value added and promising economic potential; Review the current research and development within the DOE Solar Thermal Program that focuses on the understanding and use of concentrated solar flux in prospective new non-electric applications; Plan the structure and content of a workshop to explore the status of, and prospects for, technology to use concentrated solar flux for non-electric applications; Conduct the workshop, including holding a committee meeting at its conclusion, to identify possible information gaps and discuss the results of the workshop; and Prepare and publish workshop proceedings. Task 2.0: Recommendation of Research Needs Assess research needs and identify research paths likely to lead toward an understanding of photon/matter phenomena; and Recommend research areas that would be most conducive to helping DOE's Solar Thermal Program develop non-electric applications.