Project Name: Fractal Nanostructured Solar Selective Surfaces for Next Generation Concentrating Solar Power
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Blacksburg, VA
SETO Award Amount: $903,045
Awardee Cost Share: $225,764
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

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

This project aims to create a better coating for solar receivers at concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) plants. The coating will be made with a solar-selective material that has texturing to improve its ability to trap sunlight and convert it to heat. This material will enable stable, low-cost solar receivers with higher efficiencies than the current state of the art.  


The project team aims to optimize materials for coating solar receivers by combining several key innovations. One innovation is to produce a fractal coating that involves nano- and micro-scale texturing to prevent light from reflecting off the receiver. By trapping light more effectively, this material would convert light to heat more efficiently and eliminate the need to additionally reduce reflection. This material would also be optimized to absorb sunlight. Another innovation involves applying solar-selective materials to a substrate using electrodeposition techniques at lower costs than other methods. 


By developing a more effective coating for solar receivers, this team aims to increase the efficiency of CSP receivers to at least 90%, reduce the cost of coating receivers with this material, and develop a material that is stable for long-term operation of over 10,000 cycles at up to 800o Celsius.