-- This project is inactive --

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its partners, under the 2012 SunShot Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA), are developing a novel receiver that uses falling particles instead of liquid for the heat-transfer fluid (HTF). The research team aims to build a receiver that operates at higher temperatures and efficiencies than the current state-of-the-art technology.


The research team is designing a receiver with near-blackbody (NBB) absorptive performance. The concept uses low-cost stable materials, a ceramic solar receiver, and storage containers with refractory liners, which can accommodate temperatures much higher than can oil or salt and ordinary metals or metal alloys, and at a fraction of the cost.

The goals of this project are to:

  • Design and develop a high-temperature particle receiver and heat-exchanger system
  • Build a prototype receiver, which aims at >90% thermal efficiency with high-temperature capability in the product receiver capable of >650°C operation to serve high-efficiency power cycles.

Schematic of fluidized-bed CSP system with solid-particle receiver and thermal energy storage.


The proposed design uses gas/solid, two-phase flow as the HTF and separated solid particles as the storage medium. The research team plans to take the novel approach of using stable, inexpensive materials for the high-temperature receiver, energy storage, structure, and containment. Successful development of the proposed NBB receiver and fluidized-bed heat exchanger would achieve high thermal efficiency and higher operating temperatures, and could significantly reduce CSP thermal system capital and operation cost. When integrated with SunShot solar collectors and power cycles, the combined system is expected to achieve a levelized cost of energy of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

At this time, this project does not have published articles, patents, or awards.

Project Fact Sheet

The SunShot CSP R&D program seeks to accelerate progress toward the cost target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour through novel and revolutionary research into CSP technologies. Learn about concentrating solar power research.