Solar energy represents a vast energy resource, both in the U.S. and globally, that can be harnessed to provide sustainable power and fuels with relatively low environmental impact.
The Solar Energy Laboratory (SEL) at Bucknell University supports the development of solar power and fuel technologies ranging from hardware components to complex systems. The SEL is equipped with a range of testing, measurement, and simulation capabilities including:
- Grid connected and off-grid photovoltaic power system hardware simulators.
- Solar site evaluation tools.
- A high flux solar simulator that produces a focused radiant flux up to 700,000 W/m2 and is used for evaluating materials for high heat flux or high temperature service.
- A low-flux solar simulator that produces a 1m diameter collimated beam of light with an average flux of 600 W/m2. This device simulates natural sunlight and the collimated beam may be focused to support the development of solar optics.
- Two FLIR infrared cameras, both solar blind, suitable for temperature measurement up to 2500 Celsius.
- An IDT-NX4 high speed camera.
- A Lumasense IGA 50-LO+ non-contact infrared pyrometer with spectral range of 0.7-1.1μm and temperature range to 2500 Celsius.
- A Thorlabs broad band radiant flux gauge.
- National Instruments data acquisition hardware.
The SEL is used primarily for faculty research in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The SEL also supports courses including Solar Energy Technologies (MECH 420) and Heat Transfer (MECH 312), as well as student projects related to energy technologies and energy efficiency.