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Short Biography    Dr. Perry Li is a full professor and Department Head in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Arizona.  He joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2006 when he was a Research Associate in the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his Ph.D. in 1995 from Xi'an Jiaotong University, China, where he focused on thermal science for the application in energy and power engineering. Dr. Li has been working on a number of research topics in the area of energy and power engineering. His recent research works include: development of a high temperature molten salt heat transfer fluid (for concentrating solar power) with investigation to the thermal and transport properties as well as convective heat transfer, thermal energy storage, solar thermal desalination and water treatment, the multi-physics of flow, heat/mass transfer and electrochemistry in fuel cells and electrolysis cells, thermal management for hydrogen production using hydrocarbon fuels in reactors with reforming and shift reactions, heat transfer enhancement, and drag reduction in turbulent flow. He has accomplished research work at a total funding level of $8.0M in the last 10 years. Dr. Li has published 1 book, 5 book chapters, 110 peer-reviewed journal papers, 100 peer-reviewed conference papers, and 4 US patents. His teaching covers courses including thermodynamics, heat transfer, numerical methods in fluid flow and heat transfer, lab instrumentation, fuel cells, and renewable energy technologies. He has been an ASME member since 2003 and currently he serves as an associate editor of ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering.​​​


1.   Power supply fully through harvest and storage of solar energy—predicted and determined relying on long term multi-year weather statistics    (about 30minutes)

     The talk will address a scenario of solar energy being harvested and stored to independently provide year-long electrical power at a solar abundant area.  It is recognized that the weather condition from day to day varies at some level of randomness; however, in the year-long scale, the weather cycles and patterns in every year are largely similar and thus solar energy is generally predictable based on multi-year weather statistics. Therefore, it is important to study the weather statistics from past years in order to predict the weather pattern of the nearest future, which can lead to the estimation/prediction of daily solar energy harvest around a year and in yearly cycles. Theoretically, it is possible to harvest and store solar energy and meet year-long electrical energy demand if solar collection area and energy storage capacity are unlimitedly large. However, implementation of such a system is restricted by the cost-effectiveness and practicality. Too large an area for solar energy storage and too large a demand for energy storage capacity will make the concept simply impractical. Therefore, a precise prediction and determination of the least solar collection area and the least energy storage capacity for year-long cycles of solar energy harvest and utilization becomes critical. Details of an algorithm and analysis about finding a minimum solar collection area and energy storage capacity to satisfy a stable power demand in yearlong period will be presented.


2.  Theoretical analysis to a solar-thermal-driven desalination technology   (about 20 minutes)

      Desalination is a process needs a significant amount of energy to separate salts/chemicals from water in order to get pure water. Using solar thermal energy for desalinate has been tried by researchers for many years.  A simple concept of harvesting solar thermal energy for desalination has been studied in the University of Arizona. The system is integrated by a solar- energy-trapping water basin covered by glasses and a cooling chimney cooled by ambient air. Due to natural flow caused by the chimney effect, dry air is humidified at the warm water basin and is then ventilated and cooled in the cooling chimney. Water vapor condenses into liquid water in the cooling chimney and is collected. Some basic analysis and understanding to such a system is presented in this talk.​​