U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SunShot Initiative

Candace Pfefferkorn

AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
SunShot CSP Program

Candace Pfefferkorn helps the concentrating solar power (CSP) team overcome hurdles associated with the cost-effective deployment of CSP systems. She knows that the deployment of reliable CSP systems with energy storage is essential to reach SunShot goals for high-penetration solar. Her work focuses on CSP-enabled thermochemical energy storage and the reliability of optical coatings and materials. But her motivation includes environmental concerns as well.

Photo of Candace Pfefferkorn.

"As an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, I have a keen awareness for the need to balance growing energy demand with sustainable energy solutions," Candace says. "I believe that solar energy must be a part of America's future renewable energy portfolio."

Candace joined the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office in September 2012 through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow. She has thoroughly enjoyed learning about the SunShot portfolio and vision through interactions with solar program staff, participation in active program management activities, and by contributing to the development of funding opportunity announcements.

Working on the cutting edge of science in both thermochemical energy storage and optical coatings performance keeps Candace stimulated and engaged.

"Thermochemical energy storage systems that are capable of storing the sun's energy in chemical bonds could help meet future baseload demands in a high-solar-penetration society," she says. Among several important considerations, she notes that "the full utilization of incident solar radiation by minimizing energy and exergy losses are essential, as well as the use of low-cost, abundant construction materials that maintain reliability at high temperatures."

Candace's research in the area of accelerated weather testing and service lifetime prediction of optical coatings brings to light the need for additional physics-based models that can accurately predict future performance. She notes that disruptive CSP systems that are capable of reaching the SunShot goals will likely incorporate improved collector and receiver coatings with proven performance for the lifetime of the system.

"Through my work at the DOE solar program, I hope to use my past experience in physics and biochemistry research to promote cost-effective, transformative science and technology solutions in the solar industry," she says.

Candace has a B.S. in physics and a B.A. in music from Gettysburg College and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Maryland College Park.