Highlight Seminar Series: Yogi Goswami, University of South Florida

Date: October 22, 2012
Location: Computer Science 104
Time: 4:30 pm -

Professor Yogi Goswami of the University of South Florida presents “New and Emerging Developments in Solar Energy” on October 22, 2012 as part of the 2012-2013 Highlight Seminar Series. 

Solar energy can potentially play a very important role in providing most of the heating, cooling and electricity needs of the world. However, costs need to be reduced and energy storage is essential for solar energy to increase its fraction in the total energy use. With the emergence of solar photocatalytic oxidation technology, solar energy also has the potential to contribute to solving some of our environmental problems. This presentation describes some of the new and emerging developments, with special emphasis on: (1) nanoscale antennas for direct conversion of sunlight to electricity with potential conversion efficiencies approaching 80%; (2) advances in solar thermal power including new thermodynamic cycles and thermal energy storage that have the potential to reduce capital costs and improve its grid parity; and (3) solar photocatalytic oxidation for cleanup of industrial wastewater, drinking water, soil and for disinfection of indoor air.

(1)   Nanoscale Antenna Solar Energy Conversion
The current photovoltaic technologies rely on the quantum nature of light and semiconductors which are fundamentally limited by the band-gap energies. A revolutionary new approach uses the wave nature of light utilizing broadband rectifying antennas for solar radiation to DC conversion. These rectifying antennas (rectennas) would not have the fundamental limitation of semiconductor band-gap limiting their conversion efficiencies. Rectennas for solar conversion would have dimensions of the order of the wavelengths of solar radiation which falls mostly in the sub-micron range. The challenges in actually achieving the objectives are many and will require significant research to make the concept viable.

(2)   Advances in Solar Thermal Power
It is recognized that the capital costs of solar thermal power will have to be reduced by about 50% in the near future in order to make it competitive with fossil fuels based power systems. Potential exists for meeting this goal by reducing the costs and improving the thermodynamic performance of power cycles by hybridization and combined cycle approaches and by employing new and innovative ideas in thermal power cycles. Additionally, thermal energy storage can increase the capacity factor of solar power and reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). This presentation describes the new thermodynamic approaches and advances in thermal energy storage.

(3)   Solar Photocatalytic Detoxification and Disinfection of Water and Air
Although the potential of solar radiation for disinfection and environmental mitigation has been known for years, only recently has this technology been scientifically recognized and researched. Solar photocatalytic oxidation has been demonstrated to effectively treat groundwater, drinking water, and industrial wastewater. Treatment of indoor air by the photocatalytic method has been demonstrated as the most effective technology for that application. Recent developments have shown its effectiveness against bio-terrorism. This presentation describes the recent developments and identifies challenges and future research opportunities.

Dr. D. Yogi Goswami is a University Distinguished Professor, the John and Naida Ramil Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department and Co-Director of the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida. He conducts fundamental and applied research on solar thermal energy, thermodynamics, heat transfer, HVAC, photovoltaics, hydrogen, and fuel cells. Dr. Goswami has served as an advisor and given testimonies on energy policy and the transition to renewable energy (RE) to the U.S. Congress and the government of India, as well as providing consultant expertise to the U.S. Department of Energy, USAID, World Bank, and NIST, among others. Professor Goswami is the Editor-in-Chief of the Solar Energy journal and Progress in Solar Energy. Within the field of RE he has published as author/editor 16 books, 16 book chapters, 6 conference proceedings and more than 300 refereed technical papers. He has delivered 51 keynote and plenary lectures at major international conferences. He holds 18 patents. A recognized leader in professional scientific and technical societies, Prof. Goswami served as a Governor of ASME-International (2003-2006), President of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES, 2004-2005), Senior Vice President of ASME (2000-2003), Vice President of ISES and President of the International Association for Solar Energy Education (IASEE, 2000-2002). Dr. Goswami is a Fellow of the ASME International, and the ASES. He is a recipient of the ISES’ Farrington Daniels Award, ASME’s Frank Kreith Energy medal, ASME’s John Yellott Award for Solar Energy and the ASES’ Charles Greely Abbott award, and more than 50 awards and certificates from major engineering and scientific societies for his work in RE.