A few weeks ago I promised you an interview. Today I'm pleased to be able to deliver on that promise. I present to you an interview with Dr. Luther Clements, a member of the faculty of the Renewable Energy Engineering Program at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Dr. Clements teaches a course in solar thermal power systems, and my interest in this subject was aroused several months ago by an article I read in No Tech Magazine titled, “The Bright Future of Solar-Powered Factories,” written by Kris de Decker.
The premise of that article was that most of the interest in solar energy was biased heavily toward the generation of electricity, and that the huge potential for direct use of solar heating in manufacturing processes was being overlooked in the United States. The article included a number of references which described the high level of interest in direct use of solar thermal energy in Europe and other parts of the world, along with descriptions of some unexplored avenues for direct use of solar heat in metallurgy.
During my interview, Dr. Clements and I discussed the article and the possibilities which it described, as well as possible reasons for lack of interest in direct use of solar heating for American industries. He touched on the need for sound engineering and design standards for manufacturers of solar thermal systems. Lastly, we discussed the future of engineering in an energy-constrained world characterized by economic contraction. You can listen to the interview directly on this blog, or you can download the audio by clicking here.