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Research Papers

Development of Molten Salt Heat Transfer Fluid With Low Melting Point and High Thermal Stability

[+] Author and Article Information
Justin W. Raade1

 Halotechnics, Inc., 5980 Horton St. Suite 450, Emeryville, CA 94608 jraade@halotechnics.com

David Padowitz

 Halotechnics, Inc., 5980 Horton St. Suite 450, Emeryville, CA 94608 jraade@halotechnics.com

1

Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 133(3), 031013 (Jul 28, 2011) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004243 History: Received January 14, 2011; Accepted May 03, 2011; Published July 28, 2011; Online July 28, 2011

This paper describes an advanced heat transfer fluid (HTF) consisting of a novel mixture of inorganic salts with a low melting point and high thermal stability. These properties produce a broad operating range molten salt and enable effective thermal storage for parabolic trough concentrating solar power plants. Previous commercially available molten salt heat transfer fluids have a high melting point, typically 140 °C or higher, which limits their commercial use due to the risk of freezing. The advanced HTF embodies a novel composition of materials, consisting of a mixture of nitrate salts of lithium, sodium, potassium, cesium, and calcium. This unique mixture exploits eutectic behavior resulting in a low melting point of 65 °C and a thermal stability limit over 500 °C. The advanced HTF described in this work was developed using advanced experiment design and data analysis methods combined with a powerful high throughput experimental workflow. Over 5000 unique mixtures of inorganic salt were tested during the development process. Additional work is ongoing to fully characterize the relevant thermophysical properties of the HTF and to assess its long term performance in realistic operating conditions for concentrating solar power applications or other high temperature processes.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Operating range of relevant CSP heat transfer fluids

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Figure 2

Materials discovery screening workflow

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Figure 3

Graphical representation of six and seven ion phase space

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Figure 4

Phase diagram showing immediate neighborhood around eutectic with the liquidus temperature in degrees celsius

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Figure 5

Phase diagram showing expanded region around the eutectic composition with the liquidus temperature in degrees celsius

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Figure 6

Thermal stability behavior of Li-Na-K-Cs-Ca-NO3 mixture in air and nitrogen

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