PROJECT PROFILE: Abengoa Solar, LLC – AETHER

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Funding Opportunity: CSP APOLLO
SunShot Subprogram: CSP
Location: Lakewood, CO
Amount Awarded: $2,777,374
Awardee Cost Share: $2,180,374

This project will use particles that represent a heat transfer material that can support power cycle temperatures of 1,100°C or higher without complex freeze protection systems. The project will develop designs for a receiver using a novel heat pipe strategy, material handling and storage of hot particles, and ducting of hot, pressurized air.

APPROACH

The Advanced Energy Tower, High Efficiency Receiver project (AETHER) project aims to design and test the systems necessary to enable the use of a solid particle heat transfer material (HTM) in a central tower CSP plant operating above 1,100°C. The first phase of the project will be validating component designs and performance, and the second phase will primarily consist of the design, construction and testing of a prototype that includes all of the key components and subsystems.

INNOVATION

The systems will include a proprietary receiver design, a high efficiency particle to air heat exchanger, and the high temperature material handling and storage systems. A new HTM in the form of ceramic particles will also be investigated, which will need to be stable in air up to 1,300°C, as well as resist any sintering when stored at 1,200°C. Operating a CSP plant at such high temperatures will be very challenging, though solid ceramic particles have advantages – they are stable in air at temperatures well above 1,000°C, there is no need for a complicated and expensive freeze protection system, and there are minimal concerns about HTM oxidation and corrosion of equipment.