The news from SolarPACES comes to ASTRI researchers

ASTRI holds many collaboration meetings by teleconference, video-conference and in-person. Last week, ASTRI held its first webcast. Last Wednesday we all gathered in various rooms throughout the country to listen to our fellow ASTRI researchers who had been fortunate enough to attend the annual SolarPACES conference in Beijing.

Before we get into the webcast let’s rewind six weeks – it’s an autumn day in Beijing and 581 participants from 34 countries were all making their way to the China National Convention Centre to talk about the latest research in concentrating solar thermal technologies.  It is seen as the conference for concentrating solar thermal researchers and thirteen members of ASTRI were able to attend with many of them presenting paper.  The Director of ASTRI, Manuel Blanco was there as the Chairman of SolarPACES.  It was a successful event with attendees impressed by China’s rapidly expanding interest in concentrating solar thermal technologies.

To facilitate the sharing of knowledge gained through attending SolarPACES 2014, the ASTRI office organised a webcast available for everyone from one of ASTRI’s partner institutions (not just ASTRI researchers).  Attendees of the Solar PACES conference were given five minutes to quickly provide an impression of what was interesting at the conference, particularly with respect to its implications for ASTRI.

While there were some technical issues, and we went a little overtime, it was a productive exercise that brought ASTRI researchers together to network and learn.  During the webcast we learned about the hot topics in CST research including particle receivers, measurements for mirrors – both reflectance and shape, latent thermal energy storage, cost limitations for high temperature sCO2 cycles, thermochemical storage, modelling programs and storage optimisation.  This prompted discussion towards the end of the webcast and I’m sure there would be even more discussion if the technical issues and time not intervened.

Hopefully there will be many more opportunities for knowledge sharing within ASTRI as more tools to facilitate communication and networking between researchers are explored.