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Performance and Thermal Stability of a Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon in a Simulated Concentrating Solar Power Loop

1 Energy and Transportation Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1 Bethel Valley Road, Bldg 4500N, MS 6181, Oak Ridge, TN, 37831-6181, USA;
2 Reactor and Nuclear Safety Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, USA;
3 Cool Energy, Inc., 5541 Central Avenue, Boulder, CO, 80301, USA

Special Issues: Studies on high temperature heat transfer fluid for concentrated solar thermal power systems

Because polyaromatic hydrocarbons show high thermal stability, an example of these compounds, phenylnaphthalene, was tested for solar thermal-power applications. Although static thermal tests showed promising results for 1-phenylnaphthalene, loop testing at temperatures to 450 ℃ indicated that the fluid isomerized and degraded at a slow rate. In a loop with a temperature high enough to drive the isomerization, the higher melting point byproducts tended to condense onto cooler surfaces. This would indicate that the internal channels of cooler components of trough solar electric generating systems, such as the waste heat rejection exchanger, may become coated or clogged affecting loop performance. Thus, pure 1-phenylnaphthalene, without addition of stabilizers, does not appear to be a fluid that would have a sufficiently long lifetime (years to decades) to be used in a loop at temperatures significantly greater than the current 400 ℃ maximum for organic fluids. Similar degradation pathways may occur with other organic materials. The performance of a concentrating solar loop using high temperature fluids was modeled based on the National Renewable Laboratory Solar Advisory Model. It was determined that a solar-to-electricity efficiency of up to 30% and a capacity factor of 60% could be achieved using a high efficiency collector and 12 h thermal energy storage when run at a field outlet temperature of 550 ℃.
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Copyright Info: © 2014, Joanna McFarlane, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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