May 3, 2013
If the current national challenge to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of this decade is met, Ranga Pitchumani, the John R. Jones III Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, will have played a significant role in the process.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative in February 2011. Its objective was to reduce the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75 percent in order to allow widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable clean energy technology. Following the announcement, Pitchumani was invited to direct the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) program for the SunShot Initiative towards its ambitious goals.
Pitchumani is a leading expert in the field of concentrating solar power. He and his research group at Virginia Tech have developed novel thermal energy storage technologies for concentrating solar power applications that are widely published. He is the overall conference chair for SolarPACES 2013 this year, the foremost international meeting in the area of concentrating solar power systems, and is an editor for Solar Energy.
Concentrating solar power plants could provide for low-cost energy generation and have the potential to become the leading source of renewable energy for future power generation. On a worldwide scale, studies suggest that concentrating solar power technology systems could provide approximately one-quarter of the global electricity needs by 2050.
Article reprinted from materials provided by Virginia Tech News. For more information, please see Virginia Tech news page.