In March, Sandia’s concentrating solar power research team performed a first-of-its-kind on-sun testing of a 1-MWth (megawatt-thermal) continuously recirculating falling particle receiver system. During the test, which was performed on-ground at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility, a single heliostat was used to illuminate particles falling over discrete porous structures in a cavity receiver at different particle mass flow rates. Temperatures were recorded to measure temperature rise and heat loss from the system, and ray-tracing was performed to compare model predictions of solar flux to measured irradiance values. Comparisons of the predicted and measured flux distributions at different times of the day aligned well, and the prototype system performed to expectations.
The next step in on-ground testing will be to aim four heliostats in the front row of Sandia’s field at the falling particle receiver. The prototype system will then be lifted to the top of the top of the tower for additional on-sun testing in May or June. The tests are a collaboration among Sandia, Georgia Tech, Bucknell University, German aerospace center DLR, and King Saud University in Saudi Arabia.
Provided by: Sandia National Laboratories