Paper presented to the 3rd Southern African Solar Energy Conference, South Africa, 11-13 May, 2015.
We present here developments and results from a multidisciplinary experimental program focused on the use of supercritical water (SCW) for energy applications and hydrothermal processing. We highlight our findings from investigating the interaction of organic and inorganic materials with SCW, and also comment on progress with advanced measurement systems. Supercritical water (SCW) possesses unique properties, which have prompted investigation into its usage in a plethora of energy and chemical applications. Beyond its critical point (374 °C and 22.1 MPa), water exhibits unconventional solubility and heat transfer characteristics, which are potentially advantageous. In this paper, we present an overview of our progress in experimental studies of the interaction of SCW with a variety of materials, both organic and inorganic. Our most notable progress has been in the development of several novel materials, designs and experimental techniques for small-scale research, and the use of these designs and techniques for detailed experimental study. The work shown highlights the potential of SCW as a useful medium for solar energy applications, and identifies some intriguing features of SCW research.