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Guangdong Zhu

Guangdong Zhu

Guangdong Zhu, Ph.D.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Presenting in Track 8: Energy

Presentation Title: A Bold Vision on Energy Decarbonization: From Concentrating Solar Power, Seasonal Storage, to Hybrid Energy Systems

Abstract: It is exciting, but challenging, to see many states, especially California, and federal agencies to lay out a target of 100% energy decarbonization in various scenarios in the United States. To achieve this demanding goal, it requires us to explore full potential of all renewable technologies, in addition to improving energy usage efficiency where possible. In this seminar, the speaker will share two examples of journeys in developing next generation concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies and geothermal energy storage (GeoTES) technologies with solar hybridization. CSP, naturally coupled with low-cost thermal energy storage, can offer valuable daily energy dispatching to the grid; GeoTES with solar hybridization has shown a potential to provide a unique low-cost seasonal storage solution without requiring any technical breakthrough. In particular, the speaker will elaborate on:

  1. A newly formed heliostat consortium (HelioCon) with $25M over 5 years. HelioCon integrates an international team and calls for participation of additional stakeholders from academia and industries and other research institutes, with an objective to advance heliostat technologies for high-performance and low-cost CSP technologies for electricity, through multiple rounds of requests for proposal (RFP) processes.
  2. A newly funded project in developing GeoTES with hybridization of CSP and heat pump by using geological reservoirs. With hybridization, depleted oil/gas reservoirs and low-temperature water reservoirs can be transformed into a high-temperature geothermal resource, with CSP heat or excess electricity from a grid dominated by non-flexible renewable technologies (such as PV and wind).

At the end, the speaker will share his vision on how to integrate academia and industrials to develop a unique platform of hybrid energy systems for research, development, and deployment and grow a world-class program to tackle most critical problems foreseen in the future 100% decarbonized energy infrastructure in US.

Biography: Dr. Guangdong Zhu has been a senior researcher since 2010 and, lately, the group manager of Thermal Energy Systems, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The Thermal Energy Systems group is focused on concentrating solar power technologies, thermal energy storage and renewable energy hybridization. At NREL, Guangdong has been leading research efforts related to solar collector development, linear Fresnel technology, seasonal storage, and renewable energy hybridization. He is the executive director of the newly formed 5-year $25M heliostat consortium co-led by NREL and Sandia National Labs, partnering with Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI). He is the associate editor of ASME Solar Energy Engineering since 2023 and was the ASME Journal of Energy Resources Technology between 2019 - 2022. He has served as technical/general program chair for ASME Energy Sustainability international conference in 2017 - 2020. He won NREL's staff award for outstanding performance in 2021, President's award in 2016 and Outstanding New Partnership Award in 2016. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal/conference papers and given invited presentations at various research institutes. Dr. Zhu obtained his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2006.