Southern Africa Solar Energy Conference (SASEC 2018)

13 Aug 2018 - 10:45

The fifth Southern Africa Solar Energy Conference (SASEC 2018) was held at the Blue Waters hotel in Durban from the 25th to the 27th of June 2018. The conference focused on solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy technology systems and applications. The conference provided an opportunity for researchers, engineers, technologists and individuals to present and discuss recent developments in the field. The three main keynote speakers were: Dr Ing Michael Geyer (Chief Development Officer of Abengoa-Algonquin Global Energy solutions) who presented on key solar energy developments, in particular the economic feasibility of a hybrid photovoltaic and solar thermal energy system; Dr Claudia Buerhop-Lutz who presented on fault detection in PV solar parks; and Prof G Kumar Venayagamoorthy who presented on photovoltaics in grid and stand-alone systems.

This year, a paper from UCT titled “Dynamic modelling of the HPS2 CSP molten salt parabolic trough test facility” was presented at the conference. The paper was authored by Robert Temlett and Professor Pieter Rousseau. The paper is based off work done by Robert for his master’s. The full paper as well as the other conference papers that were presented can be found in the following link

The topic is from a renewable energy project (HPS2) that ESKOM was involved in. The project involves the High Performance Solar Two (HPS2) test facility, where the feasibility of using molten salt as a heat transfer fluid in a parabolic trough plant will be tested. The advantage to this approach is that it will potentially reduce the cost of a full scale CSP plant, while still providing dispatchable power through a molten salt energy storage system. The topic focused on the modelling of the steam and molten salt cycle using software called Flownex. The results from the model presented included full day cycles, showing how the solar conditions can affect the test facility and the more interesting transient responses due to plant load changes from the economizer/evaporator and superheaters. The paper, presentation and results were well received at the conference.

This research was enabled through the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) and the Applied Thermal Process Modelling Research Unit at UCT. Special thanks to Mr Gary de Klerk and Prof Louis Justin of Eskom and Dr Michael Wittmann of DLR who facilitated the exchange of information about the HPS2 design.