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(James Klausner in front of DLR Synlight solar simulator)

Workshop held in Juelich, Germany September 12-14, 2017

There is a major worldwide effort aimed at giving the energy consumer the choice to utilize clean energy. Because solar energy is a variable energy source, as is wind energy, it is necessary that solar energy collection be coupled with energy storage technologies in order to make a deep penetration into energy markets. Numerous storage solutions are being pursued, including thermal storage, electrochemical storage, and thermochemical storage of solar energy. All three potential storage solutions will require significant future investment, and ultimately several market viable technologies will emerge. Of the three energy storage solutions, thermochemical storage is an emerging area that has received a very small amount of total government and private research investment compared with thermal and battery storage. Thermochemical storage and synthetic fuel production are potentially a very attractive option because it enables the synthesis of high energy density fuel and high temperature (~1200°C) and high energy density (1200 MJ/m3) grid scale storage for high efficiency power conversion cycles, such as supercritical CO2. The solar thermochemical scientific community is presented with an exciting opportunity to convene a workshop with solar thermochemistry researchers from around the world to discuss the successes, challenges, opportunities, and potential research paths forward for achieving breakthrough science that enables commercially viable solar thermochemistry technologies. We are convening an international workshop on solar thermochemistry to identify the state-of-the-art in science and technology, identify new scientific endeavors that can leap over technological barriers, and provide a research roadmap to guide future investments in advanced science and technology research. The objectives of the workshop were:

  1. Assess the state-of-the-art in solar thermochemistry science and technology
  2. Identify solar reactor performance metrics essential for commercial investment
  3. Identify known technological barriers to achieving the solar reactor performance essential for commercial investment
  4. Conceive science breakthroughs needed to leapfrog known technology barriers
  5. Propose a coordinated science and technology research roadmap needed to make a transformative improvement in solar thermochemistry science and technology

For more information see https://www.egr.msu.edu/solarthermochemistryworkshop/home