Project Name: Advanced Characterization of Particulate Flows for Concentrating Solar Power Applications
Funding Opportunity: Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power Systems
SETO Subprogram: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Atlanta, GA
SETO Award Amount: $1,352,195
Awardee Cost Share: $150,649
Principal Investigator: Peter Loutzenhiser

This project will measure particle flows and heat transfer in CSP systems that use particle flows as the thermal storage and heat transfer medium. The team will conduct temperature, particle size, and material composition tests over a range of operating conditions. Then they will use this data to guide the design and modeling of CSP receivers and reactors that use particle flows. This project is responsive to Topic 2b, which supports applied Gen 3 concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) research and development.


The research team will develop tools and techniques that measure how particles flow in a CSP plant, how they absorb sunlight, and how they exchange heat in various conditions. The team will develop and run a series of controlled experiments using various temperatures and flow configurations. The team will examine different particle flows and measure surface velocities and temperatures to determine what conditions they should change to optimize the flow. The team will compare the results to particle flow, heat, and mass-transfer models that simulate the same conditions to achieve optimum results.


This project will provide basic parameters and modeling techniques for capture particle flow and heat transfer properties. This data will improve the understanding of the thermal-hydraulic behavior of particle flow in conditions relevant to solar receivers and reactors, which will lead to improved system design and a reduced levelized cost of electricity in future CSP plants. Data from this project will be used to inform the CSP system design and testing happening in the other pathways of the Gen3 CSP funding program.