Solar thermal electricity
The work of a senior research fellow, Dr David Mills in the School of Physics has been honoured at the World Technology Awards. Dr Mills work is deemed to have a genuine and substantial impact on the world in which we live.
Dr Mills works in solar thermal electricity development, which is one of the cornerstones of the future sustainable energy economy. His work is predominately in the field of solar materials and solar ray development. The prime focus of his research is planning 24-hour solar plants to eliminate coal use in Australia.
Himin Solar Energy Company
The World's largest manufacturer of solar hot water systems, Shandong Himin Solar Energy Company in China, is exploring new opportunities for business ventures with us after successfully bringing cutting-edge technology developed by our researchers in the School of Physics into commercial production. We signed a Letter of Intent for further cooperation, which builds on existing licence agreement between us.
The agreement comes on the back of the company's decision to patent technology developed here by Dr David Mills and Dr Qi-Chu Zhang, both from the School of Physics. In 1991, they developed evacuated solar collector tube technology, which absorbs sunlight more effectively than other solar systems in China and slows heat loss. It also delivers more hot water in winter and works in below freezing temperatures. The new surfaces offer better performance and it means that users can enjoy a more dependable method of delivery of solar hot water. This technology provides a more reliable - and less polluting - service for households and commercial buildings.
The company also took out a patent on a sputter coating machine to produce the new absorbing surfaces more cheaply. The technology was designed by a team led by Dr Zhang in 1995. These inventions build on related work in the field that began here in the 1970's.
Shandong Himin Solar Energy services a large market in China, and has a growing export market. The company is developing new production techniques and aggressively pursuing global market opportunities for the patented technology developed by Dr Zhang and Dr Mills.
This collaboration reinforces the benefits available to our researchers and the university through first quality research, intellectual property management and commercialisation in collaboration with a skilled and committed industry partner. Building on the success of this relationship, we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial interchange.