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An example of the progress made to date can be seen in photovoltaics. Multi-layered cell research has advanced from its initial conceptualization in 1980, to achievement of recently attained 22 percent experimental efficiency. Equally important is the fact that research at the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) and at industrial laboratories has significantly increased understanding of the basic photovoltaic effect. Today, scientists and engineers openly debate the most suitable concepts to reach conversion efficiencies of 35 percent, a figure not considered realistic three years ago.
The program presented for your review today represents a sound and stable commitment to the continuing development of these technologies. We are confident that these proposals will increase understanding of the potential for virtually all of the most promising options within renewable energy and will substantially contribute to the base of technical information required for informed decision making regarding renewable energy.
Especially important 18 the Department's proposal to increase its emphasis
on technology transfer activities.
Through these activities the Department
intends to gain additional insights into industrial research priorities early
in the federal planning process and improve upon an already effective technical
information program in order to better provide timely knowledge to interested
parties in a form responsive to their specific needs.
The FY 1985 budget request for Renewable Energy, Electric Energy Systems
and Energy Storage programs 18 $226 million.
For comparison purposes, last
year's request was $129 million for these programs. (See attachment).
I would now like to address the funding requests for selected major
SOLAR BUILDING ENERGY SYSTEMS Solar building energy technologies employ direct and indirect solar radiation to provide heating, cooling, and natural lighting for buildings. The FY 1985 budget request for Solar Building Energy Systems 18 $11.9 million.
These funds will be used to conduct R&D activities in support of Industry
development of low and medium temperature solar collector concepts and
construction techniques that can result in reduced energy requirements for
The Department is requesting $7.2 million for Materials and Components
Research to develop and test lightweight materials for use in low-cost,
durable nonmetallic collectors. Research will also be undertaken on
cost effective solar absorption and Rankine cooling technologies. Glazing
materials that transmit solar energy, but resist heat losses, will also be
studied. When used for windows, these materials have the potential to
significantly reduce cooling loads, prevent overheating, and provide improved
natural lighting to interior building spaces.
Testing will be conducted on
thermal storage materials that offer properties of low weight and durability,
and are suitable for building materials or components.
In Heat Transfer Systems Analysis, the Department 18 requesting $3.2
million for research to better define performance of solar systems. One-of-a
kind components will be tested and evaluated to identify the most promising and
effective design approaches. Within this area, passive solar techniques for
non-residential structures will be examined to further understand natural heat
distribution systems, to determine the impact of building space conditioning loads upon utility demands, and to assess the effectiveness of alternative cooling and lighting technologies. The capability to fully utilize available natural light will be assessed under various clinate conditions in conjunction with new lighting techniques.
Finally, in Thermal Science Research, $1.3 million 16 requested to conduct
research to identify and evaluate promising innovative concepts for solar
heating and cooling.
In particular, research will be conducted on cooling
processes such as evaporation and ventilation to determine the limits of these
concepts for effective cooling of buildings.
PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY SYSTEMS
Photovoltaic technology directly converts solar radiation to an electric
The PY 1985 budget request is $47.5 million to continue the
development of a technology base from which private enterprise can select and
develop competitive applications for electrical energy markets.
The Department proposes $31.0 million for Materials Research to overcome
the technical barriers currently limiting the efficiency and cost of
The work will focus on single-layer thin film cells, new
high-efficiency techniques, silicon sheets and innovative concepts.
For singlelayer thin fila cells, research will concentrate on increasing cell efficiency, with a goal of achieving 15 percent efficiency, as well as continuing to improve cell stability and lifetime. Photovoltaic cells nade of thin fila materials offer the potential for reducing material requirements and lowering production costs through the use of automated manufacturing processes.
Advanced high-efficiency techniques will focus on the development of multilayered photovoltaic cells. These cells offer the potential to achieve very
high conversion efficiencies of up to 35 percent. Activities in this area will
include the fabrication of multiple cells through the layering of different materials so that each layer converts a different portion of the solar light spectrum into electricity.
DOE proposes to fund research to address those remaining key 188ues which
currently preclude full scale automated production of silicon. Automated
silicon production technology nay overcome the low yield and quality control problems inherent in state-of-the-art production technologies. Additionally,
the Department 18 proposing to upgrade the capabilities of the Device and
Measurement Laboratory at SERI, a worldleading research center which
evaluates 500 to 1000 photovoltaic cell materials per year.
The Department proposes to compliment the previously described materials
research activities with an innovative concepts and university research program
that draws upon the creative genius of the nation's universities, private
research laboratories, and small businesses. Funds will be provided for the
best new ideas proposed by these organizations to conduct research to determine
the R&D potential of new materials or innovative concepts for photovoltaic
The Department requests $10.5 million for Collector Research to improve the
efficiency and durability of both flat plate and concentrator modules. Flat
plate collector research will result in increasing the efficiency of crystalline silicon cells through the development of improved coatings and lowcost electrical conductors. Concentrator collector research will be focused on the development of cells which can potentially achieve efficiencies of 20 to 23 , percent to concentrated sunlight.
The Department requests $5.0 million in Systems Research to better define
remaining photovoltaic reliability and life expectancy 188ues. A variety of
PV nodules will be tested under different operating and environmental
conditions. Lessons learned, such as how to avoid electrochemical corrosion, improve voltage insulation, and prevent high voltage failure through improved
circuit designs will be transferred to industry for further development and
SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY SYSTEMS
Solar thermal technology employs concentrated sunlight to produce heat,
electricity or both.
The FY 1985 budget request for the Solar Thermal Energy
Systems program totals $37.5 million.
Innovative solar thermal concepts will
be investigated to develop high performance, reliable solar energy systems that
are cost competitive for electric and process heat applications.
The Department is requesting $8.9 million for Materials and component
Research. Experiments wil1 be conducted to define the physical properties of
potential heat transfer materials such as molten salts for solar thermal
receivers and storage devices. Materials which may reduce the cost and weight
of solar concentrators will be developed and evaluated. Finally, the materials
used for receiver, delivery, and storage devices will be evaluated to determine
their suitability for operating within a high temperature environment.
The request of $4.5 million for Concentrator Research and Development will
be used to develop potentially low-cost, high performance concentrator
Scale models will be tested and system analyses will be conducted to
identify tradeoffs among collector performance, spacing, and cost of the
The $16.5 million requested for Central Receiver Research and Development
will be used to examine concepts that show promise of attaining the substantial
performance gains expected if solar thermal technology can be developed to
operate at temperatures in excess of 1500°F. Advanced control concepts will be evaluated at the Central Receiver Test Facility and the power production phase of the Barstow 10 MWe Central Receiver Pilot Plant will be initiated.
In Distributed Receiver Research and Development, the Department requests
$7.1 million to sponsor a one time cost-shared activity to design, build and
evaluate first generation Stirling and Brayton engines.
The results of this
experiment should provide a sufficient technical basis for industry to
determine the development potential of solar dish to electricity technology.
A variety of other supporting research aimed at resolving critical distributed
receiver engineering 188ues, including the operation of the Distributed
Receiver Test Site, will also be undertaken in FY 1985.
BIOFUELS ENERGY SYSTEMS
Biofuels technologies are potentially capable of converting various feedstocks, such as forest wastes, animal wastes, and agricultural residues into liquid, gas, or solid fuels. The total biofuels request of $28.1 million will be evenly balanced between feedstock development and the continuing
evaluation of promising conversion technologies.
The Department is requesting $4.2 million for Short Rotation Intensive Culture research. Research has shown that productive yields may be obtainable
for certain species of woody biomass such as hybrid poplar and black cottonwood
through the use of advanced agricultural methods. Expecially important, the
Department plans to fund a new genetics program to develop wood resources with
high yields, improved resistance to pests and disease, lower nitrogen or
water requirements, and improved energy characteristics such as higher Btu
content or lower moisture content.
The feedstock Production request is $6.2 million. Research to better
define the energy potential of crops that can be grown on grasslands or in
water will be performed. As part of this research the Department will identify
and improve herbaceous crops which have the potential of being grown on
In addition, research will be conducted to improve oil
content, increase growth rates, and to determine methods for harvesting
microalgae as an energy resource.
The $7.0 million request for Thermochemical Conversion 18 for research to
Improve processes for converting bionass into liquid fuels and gas.
various conversion concepts such as gasifiers and thermochemical reactors will
be conducted to better understand their operation. Research and development
will be conducted to improve the technology for using municipal waste as å fuel
within acceptable environmental constraints. Research will also be conducted
to evaluate various techniques for converting wood to liquid fuels.
The Department 18 requesting $6.6 million for Biochemical Conversion.
Research will laclude investigations of biochemical reactions which can produce
ethanol from various feedstocks. A major technical milestone will be