U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SunShot Initiative

Chemically Reactive Working Fluids

ANL logo Chart with an upward curve with ideal power generation efficiency on the y-axis and temperature of the hot source, C, on the x-axis.

This chart illustrates the ideal efficiency of power generation cycles as a function of the temperature at which heat is transfered. The higher the temperature of heat transfer, the higher the cycle efficiency, and thus, the need for heat transfer fluids (HTFs) operating between 650° and 1200°C.

Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), under the 2012 SunShot Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA), is working to identify and test new heat-transfer fluids (HTFs) that store energy chemically for more efficient energy transfer in CSP applications.

Approach

The research team is working to demonstrate the feasibility of using chemically reacting working fluids (CRWFs) as an HTF. The goals of this project are to:

  • Test the efficiency and longevity of candidate systems through repeated cycling in the temperature range of 650°–1200°C
  • Determine each CRWF's potential ability to capture solar heat as chemical energy, in addition to sensible and latent heat
  • Develop predictive models to determine power production and efficiency given various designs and process parameters
  • Validate the models by showing that more than double the power output efficiency of current CSP systems is achievable and scalable.

Innovation

CRWFs capture solar energy as chemical energy in addition to sensible and latent heat. This property enables heat transfer between 650° and 1200°C at pressures below 160 bar—producing more power per unit mass of working fluid per unit of solar energy absorbed. CRWFs may thus result in higher energy density and significantly lower heat loss.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

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

SunShot logo

Progress Reports
April 2013

The SunShot CSP R&D program seeks to accelerate progress toward the cost target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour through novel and revolutionary research into CSP technologies. Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.