BRIAN MAFFLY | The Salt Lake Tribune
Using heat to generate electrical power is notoriously inefficient.
But where there is inefficiency, entrepreneurs like Shekar Balogopal of Ceramatec see opportunity. The South Salt Lake research and development firm recently landed a $2.4 million federal grant to adapt its patented ceramic membrane technology for a heat engine that is hoped to enhance the conversion of solar energy into electrical power.
“The sun is the really big resource. I’m sure we will use the sun in much bigger ways. We need to figure out how to do that at a cost that competes. That’s the challenge,” said Lynn Orr, the Undersecretary of Energy for research during a tour last week of Ceramatec’s cinder-block complex on 900 West. He visited Salt Lake to see some of Ceramatec’s federally funded research and announce the latest grant to support Balagopal’s work.
Here some 82 researchers and support staff toil on a variety of projects geared toward energy innovation with about 60 percent of the funding coming from federal sources. James Mosby, for example, is exploring ways to convert poultry renderings into fuels with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A breakthrough could open new uses for bones and gore coming from Utah’s turkey industry. (…)
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