High Temperature Solar Receiver
The ASE group’s research involves the design, optimization, prototyping and testing of high temperature receivers with fluid exit temperatures above 1000°C. The challenge is to reach such high temperatures with > 90% efficient conversion of the sunlight to heat. This involves concentrating sunlight to extremely high fluxes and developing materials that can withstand the extreme environment. For example, our current designs separate the inside of the receiver from the environment with a transparent glass pane, which allows light to enter, but serves as a barrier to oxygen from the environment. The high temperature piping network containing the heat transfer fluid is then maintained in an inert environment. This opens the landscape of potential materials that can be used, as oxidation resistance is not one of the core requirements. Furthermore the use of secondary concentrators allows us to reach extremely high solar fluxes, which minimizes the effects of re-radiation. Our primary innovation centers on the usage of liquid metal as a high temperature heat transfer fluid and ceramics as the corresponding containment materials.