Thermodynamics seminars

Next Generation Solar Thermal Collectors

2:15–3:15pm Thursday 21 September 2017

Venue: PAR-Engineering C-413 (C2 Theatre)

Professor Gary Rosengarten


Solar energy will become the prime renewable energy source in the future, soon to overtake wind and possibly, in the long-term, hydroelectricity. With the average rate of solar energy reaching the earth’s surface being approximately 4000TW, and the world’s current average rate of energy usage about 15TW, it is a resource ripe for harvesting. While $/kW for photovoltaics (PV) has fallen sharply over the last ten years, partly due to reductions in manufacturing cost, and partly due to efficiency improvements, solar thermal costs and efficiencies have remained almost stagnant. In this presentation I outline our ARENA funded programs to develop both new PV/Thermal collectors for simultaneous high temperature heat and electricity, and a mass manufacturable novel, low cost solar thermal collector that can deliver 250°C heat at approximately 50% efficiency without requiring any tracking. This solar thermal collector forms the basis of a system capable of producing high grade heat for industry with payback periods of less than five years.


Professor Gary Rosengarten is head of the Laboratory for Innovative Fluid Thermal Systems (LIFTS) in the School of Engineering at RMIT University, and Adjunct Professor in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Prior to joining RMIT University in 2012, he spent 6 years at UNSW running the solar thermal energy group, and being head of the thermal fluids research area. He also has 2 years experience in consulting for sustainable building design. He has first class honours degrees in Mechanical Engineering and in Physics from Monash University, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of NSW. He won the inaugural American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Solar Energy Division Graduate Student award in 2000. In the last 6 years he has been awarded over $5.5million in funding from ARENA for various solar projects. He has approximately 150 refereed papers in fields ranging from Solar Energy to Biotechnology.