Project Name: Thermodynamically Stable, Plasmonic Transition Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Solar Selective Absorbers toward 95% Optical-to-Thermal Conversion Efficiency at 750°C
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Hanover, NH
SETO Award Amount: $400,000
Awardee Cost Share: $100,000
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project team is developing a more effective coating for concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) receivers. This coating is designed to optimize the conversion of sunlight to heat at temperatures of 750° Celsius, to achieve efficiencies of 95%. Existing commercial coatings achieve light-to-heat conversion efficiencies of around 89%, which deteriorate over time. By developing a more effective coating, this project aims to enable significantly more efficient CSP receivers that produce energy at lower cost.


Plasmonic nanoparticles are materials with unique properties that make them extremely effective at absorbing light. Previous research funded by SETO found that plasmonic nanoparticles are particularly effective at converting light to heat in CSP receivers. The project team aims to optimize the nanoparticles’ structure to absorb light at wavelengths typically seen in sunlight directed toward CSP receivers. Dartmouth is developing coating formulations that will allow manufacturers to spray-coat CSP receivers, a low-cost application method that allows simple re-application over time.


This project aims to adjust the composition of particular nanoparticles that have achieved light-to-heat conversion efficiencies of 93.3% in lab tests in order to raise their light-to-heat conversion efficiencies to 95% or greater.