U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Low-Cost Self-Cleaning Reflector Coatings for CSP Collectors
Successive frames showing a stream of water drops picking up and removing dust and dirt particles from a highly superhydrophobic surface. Image from ORNL
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), under the National Laboratory R&D competitive funding opportunity, is developing self-cleaning, optically transparent coatings that can be applied to the surfaces of heliostats and collector mirrors in concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. The coatings can help to achieve the SunShot Initiative cost goals by reducing the time and costs associated with cleaning collector and heliostat mirror surfaces and increasing the reliability and efficiency of CSP systems.
The research team has developed optically transparent superhydrophobic (SH) materials and coatings based on nanostructured silica surfaces that can address the soiling and maintenance issues of CSP systems. In this project, the team is investigating and optimizing the adhesion, transmittance, and water and dirt repellent properties of these multifunctional nanostructured surface coatings. The team is working to improve the technology using a suspension of SH silica nanoparticles, polymeric binders, and solvents that can be applied to large area surfaces using simple low-cost spray coating techniques developed by the commercial paint industry.
This project derives innovative new coatings by modifying high surface-area nano-structured silica particles with self-assembled low surface energy monolayers. The coatings will be transparent over the entire ultraviolet-visible near-infrared range and will be applicable to surfaces other than glass, making them suitable for other retrofitting and refinishing applications.
Publications, Patents, and Awards
At this time, this project does not have published articles, patents, or awards.
Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.