PROJECT PROFILE: Argonne National Laboratory (2015)

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Funding Opportunity: CSP: APOLLO
SunShot Subprogram: CSP
Location: Argonne, IL
Amount Awarded: $1,050,000
Awardee Cost Share:  $522,452

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This project at Argonne National Laboratory continues the development of a high efficiency latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) system based on a high thermal conductivity graphite foam infiltrated with a phase change material (PCM). The project will extend the graphite foam/PCM LHTES system to make it compatible with supercritical CO2 power cycle requirements. This project was announced on September 16, 2015 at the Solar Power International conference. Read the press release.

APPROACH

Argonne National Laboratory, along with Koppers Inc. and Parker Hannifin Corp., will scale-up and demonstrate Argonne’s novel thermal energy storage system, which efficiently stores solar energy as heat for later use as electricity on the electrical grid. Thermal storage systems are able to store solar energy so that the turbines can continue to run at night or on cloudy days when the sun isn’t shining. This dramatically improves plant capacity, but in order to maximize plant efficiency, it is essential that thermal storage systems operate at temperatures more than 200°C higher than current systems. For this purpose, high-temperature phase-change heat storage materials are being developed that store heat as they melt.

INNOVATION

A team of researchers at Argonne has developed a composite heat storage material that receives and releases heat very rapidly. This material consists of high-conductivity graphite foams that have been made with a high-temperature phase-changing material. The awarded scale-up and demonstration project will create an energy storage system that has three times the capacity of the current lab-scale system.