Expert talks up solar power systems in Abu Dhabi

MIT professor: Concentrated solar opportunities are utility-scale

The UAE could benefit hugely from concentrated solar power generation.
The UAE could benefit hugely from concentrated solar power generation.

The opportunities and challenges of using concentrated solar power (CSP) as a reliable and attractive option to harvest the UAE's most abundant primary energy source, solar energy, have been highlighted by Professor Robert Armstrong, Chevron Professor and former Department Head of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), at a public lecture in Abu Dhabi. 

Professor Armstrong gave his lecture on ‘The Future Of Concentrated Solar Power’ on 22 May at Yas Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The event drew academia, corporate leaders, industry experts, researchers and professionals from across the renewable energy spectrum.

The lecture was given as part of the ‘Masdar Institute – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative - Distinguished Lecture Series’. The lecture series is part of Masdar Institute’s continuous endeavour to bring experts from MIT and other renowned institutions to the region and strengthen cooperation, while enabling sharing of information and experience.

Prior to the presentation, Professor Armstrong held discussions with Masdar Institute’s senior management team and faculty, as well as the Institute’s strategic partners and stakeholders.

A renowned researcher, Professor Armstrong has published more than 120 papers and books and given over 330 presentations in energy, polymer fluid mechanics, and the rheology of complex materials. Prof Armstrong served earlier as Co-Chair of MIT’s Energy Research Council and is currently the Deputy Director of the MIT Energy Initiative.

Professor Armstrong said: “Because of the use of a standard turbine for producing electricity, CSP lends itself to large, utility-scale production of power. CSP is renowned for its simplicity, ability to implement very efficient thermal storage in a straightforward manner, its dispatchability, and its use of proven and reliable technology.” Concentrated solar power, also called solar thermal, transfers energy from sunlight to a heat transfer medium to generate steam for production of electric power.

“I am grateful to Masdar Institute for the opportunity to highlight the role of CSP in clean energy. MIT looks forward to continually expanding the cooperation with Masdar Institute in the future,” he added.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The cooperation between Masdar Institute and MIT demonstrates the longstanding relationship between the two academic institutions focused on world-class research and development. Renewable energy has made significant strides in the past several years and we are delighted to host Prof Armstrong, a highly accomplished scholar from MIT, who has illustrated the potential role of solar energy to the Abu Dhabi audience. Masdar Institute will continue to organise events that will prominently highlight the benefits of clean energy sources.”

Dr Steve Griffiths, Executive Director of Initiatives at Masdar Institute, welcomed Prof Armstrong and introduced him to the audience.

Dr Griffiths said: “The event strongly underscores the commitment of both partner institutions to supporting development of the next generation of renewable industry leaders. The insightful and engaging presentation will encourage students to pursue energy studies and research that will advance the current state-of-the-art in energy technologies and policies.

“The ‘Masdar Institute – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative - Distinguished Lecture Series’ will continue to bring world-class experts for the benefit of the community in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The presentations provide a foundation for development of advanced energy human capacity and technological development in Abu Dhabi,” he added.



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