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Dartmouth Engineering Professor Receives Award for Large-Scale, Low-Cost Solar Energy Technology

Sep 16, 2015

Professor Jifeng Liu and his research team have received a U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative award, the Energy Dept. announced today.

Energy Dept. SunShot Initiative

The award recognizes Professor Liu's work to provide a lower cost, efficient alternative to conventional solar panel construction that can be applied on a large scale. The transformative invention involves reliable coating technologies that facilitate vacuum-free, high-efficiency, low-cost concentrated solar power (CSP) systems.

Conventional solar cells come with limited energy storage capacity and intermittency issues. CSP systems offer important energy storage advantages but have been held back by the expense of key components having to work under vacuum to avoid damaging oxidation.

Based on a novel metal nanostructure and ceramic matrix, the approach developed by Liu's team provides optimal spectral selectivity along with long-term antioxidation protection while avoiding the need for costly vacuum deposition. (See relevant publications and patents on Professor Liu’s profile.)

SunShot awardees from Dartmouth and Norwich Technologies
Dartmouth-Norwich Technologies team: (l to r) Xiaobai Yu (Thayer), Jifeng Liu (Thayer), Emil Cashin (NT), Oliver Brambles (NT), Troy McBride Th'01 (NT)

Liu and his team will collaborate with Norwich Technologies, led by Drs. Troy McBride Th'01 and Joel Stettenheim, to scale up the antioxidation cermet coating and incorporate it into Norwich Technologies' novel SunTrap receiver systems.

“We are honored to receive this award," says Liu. "This support will not only enable us to greatly advance our air-stable, high-temperature solar selective coating technology, but also expedite its commercial applications by integrating it with Norwich Technologies’ novel SunTrap CSP receiver.”

Vice President Joe Biden is announcing the SunShot Initiative awards at Solar Power International in Anaheim, California at 2:00pm ET today. Listen live.

About the SunShot Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at

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