ASES Concentrating Solar Power Division Newsletter May 2012

5-13concentrating_solar_powerFrom the Division Chair

As we approach the annual ASES conference (May 14-19 in Denver, Colorado), I am especially excited about the robust content related to concentrating solar power.  With an astounding total of 22 full technical papers, 7 forums, 2 ignite presentations, a workshop, reception, and of course the annual CSP Division Meeting, there has never been more reason for this Division’s members to attend the annual conference.

The CSP Division Meeting will take place over breakfast on Tuesday from 7-8 am.  At this meeting we will review the year’s activity and generate ideas for the upcoming year.  We want to hear your ideas!

I want to extend a special invitation to all of you to attend the CSP Reception at 5:45 pm on Monday, May 14.  This is a chance for us to meet informally face to face, and lift a glass to the success of the CSP industry.  Please email to receive an invitation.

For those of you just getting started in CSP, I encourage you to sign up for the Concentrating Solar Power Fundamentals Workshop for the bargain price of $50.  This workshop (8-12 Thursday, May 17) will feature top notch instruction by experts Andrew McMahan and David Kearney.

….and so much more!  See below for a simplified list, or google “CSP ASES” and follow the link to a detailed list.

I look forward to meeting many of you there,

Alison Mason, SkyFuel, Inc.

CSP Division Represents at WREF

Monday, May 14: 

10:30am-11:45am- CSP Optical Analysis

1:15pm-2:30pm- CSP Applications 1

2:45pm – 4:00pm- CSP Applications 2

4:15pm – 5:30pm- CSP FORUM – National Lab CSP Testing Capabilities

5:45pm – 7:00pm- Concentrating Solar Power Reception – by invitation

Tuesday, May 15:

7:00am – 8:00am- ASES CSP Division Meeting

10:30am – 11:45am- CSP FORUM – The Future of Concentrating Solar Power in a Challenging Economic Climate

Wednesday, May 16:

8:30am-10:00am- PLENARY: Address by Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar

10:30am – 11:45am- CSP FORUM – The Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) – Current Status, Future Plans and Opportunities

2:45pm – 4:00pm- CSP FORUM – Meeting the Dual Goal of Energy Access and Sustainability – CSP Deployment in Developing Countries

4:15pm – 5:30pm- CSP FORUM – Concentrating Solar Power Around the World


Thursday, May 17:

8:00 am – 12:00 pm- CSP WORKSHOP – Concentrating Solar Power Fundamentals

10:30am – 11:45am- WREN FORUM

2:45pm – 4:00pm- CSP Ignite Session

Elections Approaching 

CSP Division, that is….This year we will be electing a new leadership for the CSP Division – Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Newsletter Editor.  The division leadership serves as a funnel point for tapping the technical expertise of the division members.  It requires on average 5 hours of time per month.

Activities this year have included organizing a CSP webinar, recruiting papers and other content for the annual conference, and producing a CSP Primer for the ASES website.  We use a LinkedIn Group (ASES CSP Division Core) to facilitate communication amongst our most active members.

Our bylaws require us to form a nominating committee to solicit nominees and publicize the election, which will be conducted by email soon after the annual conference.

If you would like to participate on the nominating committee, or nominate someone to run, please email

Meet Me at the Forum

CSP FORUM – The Future of Concentrating Solar Power in a Challenging Economic Climate

Tuesday,10:30 – 11:45am, Moderator: Dr. Chuck Kutscher, NREL

The Concentrating Solar Power industry is facing challenging times due to the economic downturn as well as lower prices of photovoltaics and natural gas. Recent studies have shown that the CSP with thermal storage can help variable renewable sources like PV and wind achieve large grid penetration. The question is how will CSP continue to penetrate the market in the near-term? The panel will begin with a discussion of the challenges and then we will here from different industry representatives how they plan to meet these challenges.

CSP FORUM – Meeting the Dual Goal of Energy Access and Sustainability – CSP Deployment in Developing Countries

Wednesday, 2:45 – 4:00pm, Moderator: Dr. Natalia Kulichenko-Lotz, World Bank

The Forum will present outcomes of and major lessons learned from design and development of RE (in general) and CSP projects (in particular) in those developing countries that are among the leaders in implementing domestic renewable energy policies. The forum will discuss challenges and specifics of planning and delivering RE projects in a developing country setting, and the role of government policies to reduce risks and support the private sector engagement.

CSP FORUM – CSP Around the World

Wednesday, 4:15 – 5:30pm, Moderator: Alison Mason, SkyFuel, Inc.

Are you intrigued with the development of the global Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) market?  This session will feature experts from the most active regions in CSP and will send you away with a fresh and relevant understanding of how this exciting market is taking off.

Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrating Solar Power

Submitted by R. Panneer Selvam, Vice Chairman for ASES CSP Division & Womble Professor of Computational Mechanics, University of Arkansas, email:

Renewable energy has been becoming an attractive and competitive energy source for industrial and household use. In big solar power plants continuous production of renewable energy is a challenge due to change in weather or meeting the variable demand of the power plant. In addition, the solar power plants are not utilized more than 10 or 12 hours because the sun is not available. Thermal energy storage provides a reasonable solution to tackle the above problems. There are three major techniques to store thermal energy. One of them is sensible heat storage technique where in thermal energy is stored by heating the solid or liquid medium and then take the heat to run the power plant. Currently molten salt is used as a medium to store thermal energy. Since energy is a competitive business DOE is interested in developing technologies that can reduce the cost of thermal energy storage. In this regard University of Arkansas is doing research with the support of DOE to store thermal energy in concrete up to temperatures of 600 ° C for the last two years. This work is proposed because the media cost of concrete is $1 kwht when molten salt is $3.7/kwht. Normal concrete breaks into pieces after 200 to 300 ° C. Prof. Micah Hale and his group developed concretes that can withstand temperatures more than 600° C. Using this concrete Selvam and his group tested the performance of the concrete when it is heated up to 500° C. The testing setup is shown in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows how normal concrete cylinder breaks into pieces when it is heated in an oven and Figure 3 shows the performance when it is heated using molten salt. Figure shows the performance of the proposed high performance concrete. There were only minor cracks when the temperature went beyond 500 ° C. Further testing and research is going on in storing thermal energy at the University of Arkansas. The thermal energy storage technique is also proposed for melting snow on pavements and other applications.

CSP Conference Schedule

Solar Power Mexico 2012, May 15-16, Mexico City: The Solar Power Mexico conference and exhibition aims for the first time to unite key international players in this growing industry to drive forward government support, promote financial backing and provide a platform for discussion on how the Mexican solar industry can become a global market leader.

MENASOL 2012, May 16 -17, Abu Dhabi: Organized by CSP Today, this is the premier solar meeting place for the Middle East and North Africa region. Now in its 4th year, it provides the ultimate learning & industry networking experience for the MENA solar industry.

Solar Maghreb 2012, May 22-23, Casablanca: The most established solar congress focusing on solar power development in North Africa. After dramatic changes in the region over the past year, Solar Maghreb will welcome official delegations from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt & Libya to formulate the next steps for the region’s solar market. With a combination of presentations, roundtable working groups, interactive discussion sessions and networking evenings, join the most established meeting to focus exclusively on the North African solar industry.

2nd CSP Optimization Summit, June 5-6, Madrid, Spain: The optimization of new and existing CSP plants is fast becoming the most important issue for the progression of the industry, and this conference will give you crucial strategies and insight from the biggest international CSP developers, EPCs & service providers.

Solar South Africa 2012, June 19-20, Johannesburg: Whether you’re a developer looking for investment and local partnership opportunities, or an investor seeking new prospects in the country, Solar South Africa 2012 is the ideal forum to get up-to-date with the latest industry news and developments, network with your peers and make the contacts you need to get ahead in this exciting new market.

CSP Today USA 2012, June 27-28, Las Vegas, USA: CSP Today USA is the premier Concentrated Solar Thermal Power meeting place and in its 6th edition it will give you the ultimate CSP learning & industry networking experience. With over 600 top attendees, this is by far the biggest, best, and most influential CSP industry event in North America.

About Our Organization

ASES Technical Divisions exist to bring together members with similar interests in order to exchange information and ensure that ASES programs and publications are technically accurate. The CSP Division supports the deployment of concentrating solar power systems for utility‐scale solar electric power. These are systems which use concentrated sunlight to create and store solar thermal energy for the purpose of driving a heat engine to produce electric power.  Please join us in the LinkedIn group ASES CSP Division Core.


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