Department of Mechanical Engineering
Middle East Technical University, TR



Dr. Derek Baker leads the Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) research division ODAK at Turkey’s Centre of Excellence on Solar Energy ODTÜ-GÜNAM and is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Middle East Technical University (METU). He completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas-Austin in 2000, was an Assistant Professor at Humboldt State University, California, from 2000 to 2002, and joined METU in 2003. He is coordinating the multi-national European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 (H2020) SolarTwins project, is the Institutional Principle Investigator for the EU H2020 HORIZON-STE, SFERA-III, and GeoSmart projects, and was a researcher on the recently completed EU H2020 INSHIP project.

​Presentation ​

Overview of Concentrating Solar Thermal Technologies and Applications

Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) is an umbrella term covering diverse technologies that are typically classified using four concentrating geometry categories and four application categories. Two concentrating geometries are "Point Focus" (Parabolic Dish and Central Receiver) and two are "Line Focus" (Parabolic Trough and Linear Fresnel). Each geometry has advantages and disadvantages, and the "best" geometry depends on the application. The four main applications are Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) / Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), Solar Heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP), Solar Fuels (e.g. H2), and Solar Water Treatment and Desalination (Solar4Water). Among these, STE/CSP is the most mature and when combined with Thermal Energy Storage (TES) is the low-cost solution to deliver dispatchable solar electricity during times of peak demand or at night. Both SHIP and Solar Fuels markets are largely undeveloped but have very large growth potentials due to the global need for cost-effective solutions to decarbonize the industrial and transport sectors. Solar4Water markets are also largely undeveloped and have large growth potential due to the largest end-use of water being irrigation, and the potential for Solar4Water technologies to produce irrigation water in the quite common regions where agriculture, solar resources, and water scarcity are co-located. CST opportunities for the glass industry include as a supplier of value-added glass products (e.g. reflective materials and low-iron glass), using SHIP to decarbonize glass production processes, and potentially being a supplier of CST components (e.g. complete linear receiver tubes) and systems (e.g. complete collectors).