Project Name: Additively-Manufactured Molten Salt-sCO2 Heat Exchanger
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Davis, CA
SETO Award Amount: $2,219,000
Awardee Cost Share: $582,988
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

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

This project team is developing a more effective heat exchanger for next-generation concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) plants that use supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles. The heat exchanger will move heat from molten salts to sCO2 and will be manufactured by 3-D printing, enabling higher temperatures and lower costs than today’s available technology.


Using nickel-based alloys and 3-D-printing manufacturing methods, the project team will create a compact heat-exchanger design that can withstand corrosion from chloride salts in a high-temperature and high-pressure environment. First the team will fabricate and characterize different 3-D-printed heat exchangers geometries and designs. Then the team will optimize its heat exchangers to maximize performance in conditions representative of Generation 3 CSP systems. The goal is to ensure high mechanical integrity and minimal corrosion at temperatures of 750o Celsius and deliver a prototype heat exchanger with a 20 kilowatt (kW) power rating.


This project aims to validate a thermal model that can predict performance in a chloride salt environment and then use this model to develop a 20 kW design to test the mechanical integrity of the heat exchanger. Using advanced 3-D printing manufacturing techniques, materials science, and market knowledge will make this heat exchanger more efficient than existing models, less expensive to manufacture, and able to perform well at high temperatures.