SUNgas: Opportunities and Challenges for Solar Thermochemical Fuels
Speaker:Prof. Jane Davidson, Professor, University of Minnesota, United States
Date & Time:21 Mar 2014 (Friday) 10:00 - 11:00
Organized by:Department of Electromechanical Engineering


Displacing fuels derived from petroleum with synthetic solar fuels offers the opportunity to harness and store the earth’s most abundant energy resource, to reduce anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, and to meet an expanding global demand for fuel. This presentation will focus on the state-of-the art developments and the technological challenges of realizing the thermodynamic potential of solar thermochemical approaches to convert water and carbon dioxide to fuel. Solar gasification will be presented as an important stepping stone to the more compelling goal of splitting water and carbon dioxide to produce synthesis gas via solar thermochemical metal-oxide redox cycles. Advances in the thermal sciences required to meet the challenge of achieving solar-to-chemical efficiencies exceeding 10% will be highlighted.


Professor Jane Davidson received her B.S. and M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Tennessee and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. At the University of Minnesota, she is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Solar Energy Laboratory. She holds the College of Science and Engineering Ronald L. and Janet A. Christenson Chair in Renewable Energy. Her current research is in the areas of absorption-based energy storage for buildings, and thermochemical processes to produce solar fuels. Her efforts in research and engineering education have been recognized with the 2004 ASME John I. Yellott Award, the 2007 American Solar Energy Society Charles Greeley Abbot Award, the 2009 Ada Comstock Award for excellence in Science and Engineering, and the 2012 ASME Frank Kreith Award. She is a Fellow of ASME and ASES.