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Albuquerque has a thriving scientific community. In addition to being the birthplace of Microsoft and a gateway to space travel via the nearby Spaceport America, the city is home to large public institutions known for partnering with local business and industry, including Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of New Mexico.
One group that took advantage of Albuquerque’s incredible scientific community was the Solar Power and Chemical Engineering Systems (SolarPACES) 2022 International Conference. Albuquerque welcomed more than 400 domestic and international attendees for the event. The conference focused on commercial development and research for concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) and related technologies.
One reason why SolarPACES chose Albuquerque as a location for its conference was the renowned CSP research center, the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) at Sandia National Laboratories. The NSTTF opened in 1978 as a solar tower research facility for CSP. The site has been a center of excellence in the development of technologies for CSP and has played a key role in the demonstration of innovations, like molten salt, used in some of the largest solar power plants in the world, according to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Many of the researchers in attendance took a technical tour of the facility.
Sandia Labs partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to pitch Albuquerque as the perfect place to hold the SolarPACES conference. The city beat out several international cities to host the 2022 event. A representative from Sydney, Australia, the host of the SolarPACES 2023 conference, said that the conference in Albuquerque “will be a very hard act to follow.” Sandia Labs partners with a number of scientific and industrial organizations, and its employees belong to a range of professional societies, so there is a lot of room for collaboration.
Clean-energy conferences can take advantage of the knowledge base and resources of New Mexico’s clean-energy companies, such as Unirac. The state is committed to clean energy, with its Energy Transition Act aiming to provide 100% clean electricity to New Mexico by 2045.