News: Big Impact, Community, NSW

Solar thermal bursary

Mr Alex La Fontaine, a PhD student at the University of Sydney recently won a bursary from the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society (AMMS) to attend the 14th Frontiers of Electron Microscopy in Materials Science conference. The bursary was awarded for the quality of his work on high performance stainless steel for concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies that he presented in his poster.

In CSP, electricity is generated by heat from the sun being concentrated by an array of mirrors (heliostats) onto a focal receiver from where it heats a heat transfer fluid (HTF). The stainless steel tubes carrying the HTF must resist corrosion and keep their mechanical strength under the demanding conditions of very high temperatures (up to 1000°C) and oxidising environments. Mr La Fontaine is investigating corrosion in a stainless steel tube after practical service in a pilot plant by using X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy and electron backscattered diffraction in the AMMRF at the University of Sydney.