U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Technology Development Manager
SunShot CSP Program
There is no doubting the fact that Joseph (Joe) Stekli is excited about solar energy, especially concentrating solar power (CSP). His interest in renewable technologies stems from a background in the semiconductor industry, where he observed firsthand how intensive and expensive energy use is in the business.
"As I looked at the energy sector, I became interested in CSP due to the fact that it is a renewable source of electricity that can still provide power whether or not the resource—in this case sun—is currently available," said Joe. "CSP does this through thermal energy storage, and this ability really drew me in to CSP technology."
Joe began working at the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office in September 2009. His current portfolio includes efforts focused on thermal energy storage research and development, specifically looking for ways to make thermal energy storage cheaper and more efficient.
"Thermal energy storage is a big differentiator for CSP," he said. "It reduces the levelized cost of energy for CSP generated electricity, which cannot be said when you try to incorporate other storage solutions with other renewable energy technologies."
A highlight of Joe's work has been overseeing the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI): High Operating Temperature Fluids project, from generating the idea to conferring the grant awards. This program is aimed at developing innovative heat transfer fluids to improve the efficiency of CSP technology and drive down the cost of renewable solar power in line with SunShot Initiative goals.
"I hope to help CSP achieve the SunShot goal," Joe said. "Making solar energy competitive on a market basis against all other technologies and doing so without any subsidy is essential. Add in the ability of CSP to supply electricity throughout periods with no sun and, if we're successful, there will be an even brighter future for CSP and clean energy in the United States."
Joe manages the following projects: