High Performance, Low-Cost Nanostructured Mirror Surfaces
Solar thermal energy conversion is currently the lowest-cost source for environmentally-friendly, renewable solar energy. However, to make this technology cost competitive with conventional power generation, capital investment must be reduced through increased component longevity or increased system efficiency. This project involves the further development of nanostructured, multilayer coating materials for improving the efficiency of solar thermal conversion, reducing its cost, and increasing the longevity of installed capacity. Phase I demonstrated not only feasibility but also significant progress for the construction of large area nanocomposite reflectors and the fabrication of flexible mirrors. Phase II will build on these gains to create greatly enhanced reflector/mirror products. The materials will be applied to large areas with closed or open geometries using environmentally benign techniques. This is in direct contrast with existing technologies for coating applications (for example, CVD and PVD), which require specialized chambers and nonambient conditions. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: State-of-the-art, flexible, lightweight, durable mirrors would be an enabling technology for widespread implementation of solar thermal energy as a distributed or remote energy source. In addition, the technology would enable the development of shaped-memory polymer mirrors for easy transport and installation, particularly in remote areas.
Small Business Information at Submission:
1485 South Main Street Blacksburg, VA 24060
Number of Employees: