Developing reliable renewable energy sources

renewable_energy_global_recordsAs the world’s population continues to grow, so does our consumption of natural resources. Many of these resources are non-renewable, so research into renewable sources of energy is vital. Research led by Bournemouth University’s Dr Zulfiqar Khan is tackling this issue through reducing corrosion, improving heat transfer and fluid dynamics, and using nano coatings to enhance surface effiencies in renewable energy systems as reported by Science News.

The European Union’s (EU’s) Renewable Energy Directive states that the EU should be producing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020; a challenging target for any country. Dr Khan’s research is a direct response to this initiative and to the challenge of finding sustainable and renewable ways of meeting our future energy needs. His research is supported by a team of PhD students, many of whom are part funded by industry.

One of his major areas of focus is developing solar thermal technology, which is available abundantly due to its nature. “Currently, we are very reliant on Solar Photovoltaic for our solar panels, but we do not have a large supply of the materials used, so using it won’t be sustainable over a long period,” explains Dr Khan. “I am developing a means of using readily available and sustainable materials in solar panels, which will help our future energy use. I am also looking at ways to move away from standalone panels to integrating them within standard building practices.”

Dr Khan explains the different components in the system: “There are four parts to this system. One part focuses upon generating heat for colder climates, while within warmer climates it focuses on generating electricity. The third part of the project looks at thermo-fluids, with the aim of improving the efficiency of fluids within the solar energy system. The final part will be the integration of heat recovery system from waste.”

At the moment Dr Khan and his team of three PhD students are testing the system for generating electricity in warmer climates. Funding from Future Energy Source Ltd. has allowed Dr Khan and his team to set up labs in Poole, which include a scale model of the solar thermal system — an invaluable tool for testing. The first phase of heat generation in cold climates is nearly at the point of being commissioned, while the third phase of testing thermo-fluids will begin in early 2016. To read more click here.

The National Sustainability in Business Conference; renewables, markets, innovation, opportunities and capital will be held 23 – 24 March 2017 at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Brisbane.  To express your interest in the 2017 Conference CLICK HERE.

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