8. Solar Power and Technologies
In Mechanical Engineering, one of my favourite topics of investigation is Energy Conversion technologies, where one of the renewable technologies continuously being developed is Solar Technology.
Solar Power can be used to generate electricity and heat energy for fluids. Modern Solar Power technologies began to be developed in 1954 where solar- panel cells, precisely known as ‘Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Cells’, could be used to generate electricity in industrial plants. The idea is that heat energy is transferred from our Sun to the land and sea in the form of solar radiation, which can be collected using solar panels. These can convert heat energy into electrical energy and supply electricity to our homes and the electrical grids.
Solar Collectors are another set of technology which use heat exchangers to transfer the heat energy in two ways:
- By directly heating the water which can be used in boilers at home.
- By converting the heat into kinetic and then electrical energy to be used at homes, offices, schools and industrial plants.
Here is a Parabolic solar collector, one of the simplest forms of harnessing solar energy, where the reflective surface directs the solar radiation onto the pipe containing the fluid, e.g. water, to be heated.
Mechanical Engineering student, currently an Intern at Rolls-Royce
"I am currently an Undergraduate student of Mechanical Engineering at Queen Mary University of London and am also currently undertaking a 12-month long internship at Rolls- Royce in a team to develop future technologies, such as a whole-engine simulation capability and Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling and testing. Throughout my engineering degree, I have enjoyed learning about fluid mechanics and heat transfer which I use daily, incorporated into my internship work."
"Outside work, I enjoy various sports such as Cricket, Basketball and Table Tennis which help me build the right balance between work and leisure time and find that my interest in playing Acoustic Guitar also keeps me motivated and energetic during free time. Being passionate about technology and the space-sector, I regularly follow new digital technological developments and aerospace related updates across the world."
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