The CooperLab conducts fundamental and applied research on emerging energy technologies. The current focus aims to overcome the intermittent nature of renewable energy resources, particularly solar, through development of dispatchable renewables and large-scale energy storage systems.
We are investigating a unique thermal approach to this problem whereby solar energy is first converted into thermal energy, and subsequently into other useful energy forms. This photothermal pathway offers the advantages that: 1) virtually the entire solar spectrum can be harnessed; 2) thermal energy can be stored as an intermediate at a significantly lower cost than by electrochemical means (batteries). The result is an renewable energy infrastructure that rivals the current fossil fuel infrastructure in terms of both cost and reliability.