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Advanced Thermal Storage Fluids for Solar Parabolic Trough Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Luc Moens, Daniel M. Blake, Daniel L. Rudnicki, Mary Jane Hale

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Paper No. SED2002-1063, pp. 277-283; 7 pages
  • ASME Solar 2002: International Solar Energy Conference
  • Solar Energy
  • Reno, Nevada, USA, June 15–20, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-1689-3
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


It has been established that the development of a storage option and increasing the operating temperature for parabolic trough electric systems can significantly reduce the levelized electricity cost (LEC) compared to the current state of the art. Both improvements require a new heat transfer fluid that must have a very low vapor pressure at the hot operating temperature and combined with a high thermal stability, higher than 450°C. Further, the piping layout of trough plants dictates that the fluid not be allowed to freeze, which dictates the use of extensive insulation and heat tracing unless the fluid has a freezing point near 0°C. At present, it seems likely that this “ideal” fluid will have to be found among organic rather than inorganic salts. We are therefore investigating the chemical and thermal properties of ‘room temperature ionic liquids’ (RTILs) that hold much promise as a new class of heat transfer or storage fluids.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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