New methods create superior solar-energy technology

17 April 2008

Linda Brus has developed and tested new methods of making solar-energy plants more competitive.

Because of the effects that use of fossil fuels has on climate, interest in alternative types of energy has increased. Use of solar energy to produce heating or cooling can be part of the solution when types of fossil energy that generate carbon dioxide are to be replaced by environmentally sustainable alternatives.

In her thesis Linda Brus has developed methods of simulating and controlling solar-heating and -cooling plants. Such plants can be used for heating or air-conditioning of both small houses and office buildings. The aim of the development of these methods is to make it possible to use the available solar energy as efficiently as possible to produce heating or cooling, despite the variations in solar radiation that result from weather involving a changing cloud cover.

"Efficient use of solar energy is a prerequisite for the capacity of this type of energy solution to compete with more conventional types of energy," says Linda Brus.

The methods can be used both at the plant-development phase and to control existing systems. Several of the methods, however, are general, and can thus also be used to resolve problems in technical areas other than solar energy.

"The thesis contributes both towards expanding the 'toolbox' for other researchers and hopefully also towards continued development of solar energy as a real alternative to fossil fuels," says Linda Brus.

The work has in part been in collaboration with researchers at the University of Seville – the location of the solar-heating and -cooling plant being examined.

Read the thesis at