Analysis and design of a high temperature liquid metal solar thermal receiver
Deangelis, Alfred N.
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Current concentrated solar technologies are not cost-effective means of generating electricity and would benefit greatly from higher operating temperatures. To reach these temperatures at high efficiencies, a novel receiver design should be used in the plant. As a first step in the design of such a receiver, a sensitivity analysis is useful to determine what parameters most affect the performance of a generic cavity receiver. The results of this sensitivity analysis can be used to develop an optimized cavity receiver geometry intended to operate at a high efficiency (>80%) at extreme temperatures (1,350°C). It was found that limiting re-radiation and convection through the cavity aperture most improve the performance of the receiver; at the same time, the receiver must be designed in such a way as to minimize thermal stresses. Descriptions of many experimental components that have been developed to allow for a successful test of a laboratory scale receiver are also included in this thesis. Additionally, presented here are the results of some initial experiments intended to validate the simulations used to perform the aforementioned sensitivity analysis. Finally, some remarks are proffered detailing additional steps and considerations necessary to scale up the receiver design to an industrial scale.