100 facts about Solar at CSIRO: Part 5Posted: Wednesday, 17th October, 2012
To celebrate our 100th blog post, we’ve put together (in no particular order) a list of 100 things you may not know about solar research at CSIRO. In this final section: some blasts from the past, some sports and some reports, and at the end we get a bit meta.
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- Within the solar team we have people with backgrounds in Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Software Engineering and Chemical Engineering. (There’s a bit of Paper Engineering, too.)
- CSIRO solar scientist Professor Andrew Holmes was awarded a Royal Medal this year for his contributions to technologies including organic solar cells.
- Research scientist Jacek Jasieniak has just returned from spending a year in the US as a Fullbright Fellow, where he worked with Nobel laureate Professor Alan Heeger on increasing the efficiency of organic photovoltaic cells. Dr Jasieniak is also a former ‘Fresh science’ winner and the subject of a news article titled ‘Aussie Scientists Have Created Printable Frickin’ Lasers’.
- Some of our solar team mentor school children in science and engineering through the Scientists in Schools program.
- One of CSIRO’s solar engineers is former world champion in a solar-powered sport.
VPS / grid
- Twenty locations in the Hunter Region, including residential houses and council sites with rooftop photovoltaics, were involved in CSIRO / LMCC’s Virtual Power Station trial project. Each participating household used a web interface to track their solar panel performance and to see the performance of the whole VPS network.
- A CSIRO report has shown that Australia’s energy supply can remain stable and reliable even if a large percentage comes from solar energy or other intermittent sources. The solar intermittency can be managed by increasing grid flexibility and considering options such as energy storage and load control (i.e. switching things on or off, or turning them down for a short time).
- Australia’s first reported domestic solar hot water heater was designed and made by CSIRO in 1941.
- CSIRO made many improvements to flat-plate solar hot water collectors in the 1980s. Researchers used a 14 kW solar simulator made of mercury-iodide lamps for testing purposes.
- A CSIRO / University of Wollongong / NCC pilot study recently discovered that many solar hot water system owners in Australia could ‘supercharge’ their systems by making a few easy changes.
- CSIRO has had several projects investigating hydrogen production using solar energy, from the fashionable 80s (above) through to the present day.
- All of CSIRO’s solar research papers can be found in the online Research Publications Repository.
- The CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle has had many visitors including energy ministers or staffers from several different countries, documentary makers including the Discovery Channel and Dick Smith, and thousands of members of the public.
- Solar@CSIRO was CSIRO’s first blog. Others have followed.
- The solar blog has been viewed from 110 countries (and counting).
- Interesting search terms that have taken people to this blog include ‘solat power’ [sic], ‘photovoltaic cells fancy dress’, ‘solar power puns’, and the slightly surreal ‘how much does a hang glider cost’.
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