Near-blackbody enclosed particle receiver can support high-temperature thermal energy storage and high efficiency power cycles.
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National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientists are designing and developing an innovative high-temperature particle receiver and integrated
heat-exchanger system to be used in high-efficiency concentrating solar power (CSP) systems.
This configuration is addressing the temperature, efficiency, and cost barriers associated with current molten-salt CSP systems. Even with significant improvements in operating performance, these molten-salt systems face challenges to satisfy desired cost and performance targets.
The technical focus for NREL’s new receiver absorber, however, is a design that leads to greater than 90% receiver thermal efficiency for particle exit temperatures of 800°C, which will achieve a working fluid temperature greater than 650°C. In addition, the materials selected will withstand these high temperatures while yielding a receiver cost of less than $150 per kilowatt-thermal.
To analyze the receiver module performance, NREL has developed comprehensive thermal/ mechanical modeling tools based on NREL’s SolTrace ray-tracing model for receiver flux simulation, ANSYS Fluent thermal model, and mechanical simulation for service life. NREL has also built a particle-flow/heat-transfer test setup to characterize certain steps in the process that are difficult to evaluate through modeling.
These new modeling and testing tools are being used to design a prototype receiver whose performance will be verified in on-sun testing. This development work is also leveraging existing technology and manufacturing capabilities for the fluidized-bed thermal system, which will accelerate the realization of the technology and minimize the technical risk.
Key Research Results
NREL has developed comprehensive thermal/mechanical modeling tools and has built a test setup for its particle receiver design.
NREL modeled the thermal efficiency for its receiver module with average particle temperatures of 527°C and 727°C with respect to receiver aperture flux. At a solar flux of less than 1 MW/m2, both particle-temperature cases modeled showed a receiver thermal efficiency of greater than 90%.
With its ultimate receiver design, NREL aims at a 30-year service life with a cost estimated at less than $100/kWth. The receiver can be integrated with particle thermal energy storage that costs less than $6/kWhth to make a high-temperature CSP system.
Technical Contact: Zhiwen Ma,firstname.lastname@example.org
References: Ma, Z. (2014). “Development of Fluidized-Bed Technology and Near-Blackbody Enclosed Particle Receiver for CSP with Thermal Energy Storage.” Summary for SunShot Initiative CSP Program Review, May 2014.
Ma, Z.; Glatzmaier, G.; Mehos, M.; Sakadjian, B.; Fan, L.; Ban, H. (2013). “Development of a Near-Blackbody Enclosed Particle Receiver for a Concentrating Solar Power Plant Using Fluidized-Bed Technology.” SunShot Initiative CSP Program Review 2013, April 23–25, Phoenix, AZ, pp. 91–93.
Ma, Z.; Glatzmaier, G.; Mehos, M.; Sakadjian, B. (2014). “Development of a Concentrating Solar Power System Using Fluidized-Bed Technology for Thermal Energy Conversion and Solid Particles for Thermal Energy Storage.” SolarPACES 2014, forthcoming.
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