Project Name: GEN3D – Experimental and Numerical Development of Gen3 Durability Life Models
Funding Opportunity: Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power Systems
SETO Subprogram: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Tulsa, OK
SETO Award Amount: $1,515,687
Awardee Cost Share:  $201,741
Principal Investigator: Todd Otanicar

This team will develop a comprehensive durability model for particles and containment materials in concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) systems that will enable better understanding of how high-temperature components perform within particle-based technologies. The results will be used to determine the mechanical durability and lifetime of the components that come into contact with the particles, such as slide gates, valves, and particle lift buckets, and create models to measure performance and establish understanding of particle-to-surface interaction. This applied research and development project on support testing for Generation 3 (Gen3) CSP systems is in response to Topic 2B of this funding program.


The team will advance existing research capabilities in material erosion, fracture mechanics, macro- and micro-scale materials characterization, and thermal and optical property characterization to study the effect of temperature and velocity on component wear and durability. These expanded capabilities will be used to test particles and components in solid-particle Gen3 CSP systems. The team will incorporate its data into existing erosion models that use low temperatures, enabling better durability predictions in high temperatures.


At high temperatures, materials in a CSP system soften, wear easily, or become brittle. This approach is the first comprehensive study of both particle and containment durability for Gen3 CSP systems. Understanding fundamental durability issues will help better predict the operational costs of components and improve component design for an integrated solids CSP system. The model will enable designers to make more informed material and operational choices as they relate to component durability, which will lead to greater system efficiency.