The university’s engineering department will bring together experts from multiple disciplines and integrate a number of technologies to develop a solar-thermal power generating system.
The Desert Research Institute will also assist with the project.
“We’re combining mechanical, thermal, electrical, advanced composites and materials and chemical engineering with renewable-energy principles into the design and testing of a lab-scale system,” said Mano Misra, primary researcher on the project.
Misra is also the university’s Renewable Energy Center director and a materials engineering professor.
“The test system will initially focus on storage to generate about 40 to 60 kilowatts,” he said. “The transportable system has a number of important applications since it produces both thermal and electric energy. Electricity and water production are crucial needs in remote and disaster locations.
“Today, these needs are usually met with diesel generators,” Misra added. “The transportation of diesel fuel is difficult and very expensive. This system will be inexpensive, efficient and renewable.”
In disaster situations, such as the Haiti earthquake, the system can be quickly transported to the area to provide life-saving power and water. Also, since the system operates on solar energy, the relief supply efforts can dramatically reduce the fuel they transport and can instead focus on more important food and medicine.
With its corporate headquarters in Sparks, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) develops electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft and communications systems for both the private and public sectors. Founded in 1963, SNC is one of the top woman-owned federal contractors in the United States.
For more information, visit www.sncorp.com.