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:
- University of Arizona: Halide and Oxy-Halide Eutectic Systems for High-Performance, High-Temperature Heat Transfer Fluids (MURI: HOT Fluids FOA)
- University of California, Los Angeles: High Operating Temperature Liquid Metal Heat Transfer Fluids (MURI: HOT Fluids FOA)
- Argonne National Laboratory: Chemically Reactive Working Fluids (CSP SunShot FOA)
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Particle Receiver Integrated with a Fluidized Bed (CSP SunShot FOA)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Concentrated Solar Thermoelectric Power (CSP SunShot FOA)
- Sandia National Laboratories: High-Temperature Falling-Particle Receiver (CSP SunShot FOA)
- Stanford University/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory: Next-Generation Thermionic Solar Energy Conversion (CSP SunShot FOA)
- General Atomics: Baseload CSP Generation Integrated with Sulfur-Based Thermochemical Heat Storage (Baseload CSP FOA)
- Infinia: Innovative Phase Change Thermal Energy Storage Solution for Baseload Power (Baseload CSP FOA)
- Terrafore: Encapsulated Phase Change Material in Thermal Storage for Baseload CSP Plants (Baseload CSP FOA)
- Abengoa Solar: Reducing the Cost of Thermal Energy Storage for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants (Thermal Storage FOA)
- City College of New York: A Novel Storage Method for CSP Plants Allowing Operation at High Temperature (Thermal Storage FOA)
- Halotechnics: Deep Eutectic Salt Formulations Suitable as Advanced Heat Transfer Fluids (Thermal Storage FOA)
- Lehigh University: Novel Thermal Storage Technologies for Concentrating Solar Power Generation (Thermal Storage FOA)
- University of Alabama: Novel Molten Salts Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrating Solar Power Generation (Thermal Storage FOA)
- University of Arkansas: Development and Performance Evaluation of High Temperature Concrete for Thermal Energy Storage for Solar Power Generation (Thermal Storage FOA)
- University of Connecticut: Novel Thermal Energy Storage Systems (TES) for Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) (Thermal Storage FOA)
- 3M Company: Cleanable and Hardcoat Coatings for Increased Durability of Silvered Polymeric Mirrors (CSP R&D FOA)
- Argonne National Laboratory: High Efficiency Thermal Energy Storage System for CSP (National Laboratory R&D)
- Los Alamos National Laboratory: High Temperature Thermal Array for Next Generation Solar Thermal Power Production (National Laboratory R&D)
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Degradation Mechanisms for Thermal Energy Storage and Heat Transfer Fluid Containment Materials (National Laboratory R&D)
- Sandia National Laboratories: High-Temperature Solar Selective Coating Development for Power Tower Receivers (National Laboratory R&D)
- Sandia National Laboratories: Dish Stirling High-Performance Thermal Storage (National Laboratory R&D)
- Savannah River National Laboratory: Fundamental Corrosion Studies in High-Temperature Molten Salt Systems for Next Generation Concentrated Solar Power Systems (National Laboratory R&D)
- Savannah River National Laboratory: Low-Cost Metal Hydride Thermal Energy Storage System for Concentrating Solar Power Systems (National Laboratory R&D)
- SENER: High-Efficiency Thermal Storage System for Solar Plants (Baseload CSP FOA)
- University of South Florida: Innovative Thermal Energy Storage for Baseload Solar Power Generation (Baseload CSP FOA)
- Argonne National Laboratory: Dual-Purpose Heat Transfer Fluids for CSP (CSP Recovery Act)
- Los Alamos National Laboratory: Hybrid Organic Silicone HTF Utilizing Endothermic Chemical Reactions for Latent Heat Storage (CSP Recovery Act)
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Nanomaterials for Thermal Energy Storage in CSP Plants (CSP Recovery Act)
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Polyaromatic Naphthalene Derivatives as Solar Heat Transfer Fluids (CSP Recovery Act)
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Thermochemical Energy Storage for Stirling CSP Systems (CSP Recovery Act)
- Savannah River National Laboratory: Thermally-Stable Ionic Liquid Carriers for Nanoparticle-Based Heat Transfer in CSP Applications (CSP Recovery Act)
- Acciona Solar: Indirect, Dual-Media, Phase Changing Material Modular Thermal Energy Storage System (Thermal Storage FOA)
- Acciona Solar: Sensible Heat, Direct, Dual-Media Thermal Energy Storage Module (Thermal Storage FOA)
- General Atomics: Thermochemical Heat Storage for CSP Based on Multivalent Metal Oxides (Thermal Storage FOA)
- Infinia: Innovative Application of Maintenance-Free Phase-Change Thermal Energy Storage for Dish Engine Systems (Thermal Storage FOA)
- Terrafore: Heat Transfer and Latent Heat Storage in Inorganic Molten Salts for CSP Plants (Thermal Storage FOA)
- Texas Engineering Experiment Station: Molten Salt-Carbon Nanotube Thermal Storage (Thermal Storage FOA)
- US Solar Holdings: CSP Energy Storage Solutions—Multiple Technologies Compared (Thermal Storage FOA)