Project Name: Characterization of Radiative, Convective, and Particle Losses in High-Temperature Particle Receivers
Funding Opportunity: Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power Systems Lab Call
SETO Subprogram: Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power
Location: Albuquerque, NM
SETO Award Amount: $1,031,070
Awardee Cost Share: N/A

In concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, the receiver collects sunlight reflected from mirrors and converts it to heat, which can be stored and used to generate electricity. Receivers using solid particles to absorb the sunlight are a promising new technology pathway, but the receiver itself can also emit particles, which causes energy loss, reduces plant efficiency, and increases maintenance costs to replace the lost particles. This project will develop tools and methods to measure these losses from a high-temperature particle receiver.


The team will perform lab-scale tests to create and evaluate methods for using visible and infrared cameras to take pictures of the particles so that the cameras can detect hot particles as they are ejected from the receiver. The images will be processed to quantify the lost particles and determine the total heat lost from the receiver. After lab tests confirm that the images are usable, the team will conduct field tests to demonstrate the tools and methods in a real-world scenario. The researchers also will monitor the air to ensure the particles emitted into the environment do not create a safety hazard.


New imaging methods that can enable researchers to measure the loss of particles and heat can enable constant, real-time monitoring of CSP plant performance, which will help the plants operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. The resulting data on hot solid particles from this project may also be applied to other particle-based systems for use in chemical reactions or for solar fuel production.