U.S. Department of Energy

Heat Transfer and Latent Heat Storage in Inorganic Molten Salts for CSP Plants

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This diagram shows how Terrafore is using a molten salt slurry to improve the energy storage capacity of a thermocline.

Terrafore, under the Thermal Storage FOA, is developing an economically feasible thermal energy storage (TES) system based on phase change materials (PCMs), for CSP plants.

Approach

The PCM-based TES uses the latent heat of fusion of inorganic salt mixtures for storing thermal energy. The concepts being applied by Terrfaore make the PCM thermal storage more economical than the state-of-the-art, two-tank sensible heat storage technology or the dual-media (solid and fluid) heat storage technology by reducing the amount of storage media and corresponding container size 37%–56%.

Innovation

Terrafore is using a slurry to capture both sensible and latent heat. This drives the project to discover a new heat exchanger "coating" that can inhibit nucleation of the solid on the heat exchange surface, thereby avoiding a heat transfer penalty. The project expects to result in a novel PCM/sensible heat system with the potential to reach $15 per kilowatt-hour thermal.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

At this time, this project does not have published articles, patents, or awards.

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Quarterly Progress Reports

CSP Program Overview

Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.