Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.102, 567-576, 2013
Dense suspension of solid particles as a new heat transfer fluid for concentrated solar thermal plants: On-sun proof of concept
This paper demonstrates the capacity of dense suspensions of solid particles to transfer concentrated solar power from a tubular receiver to an energy conversion process by acting as a heat transfer fluid. Contrary to a circulating fluidized bed, the dense suspension of particles' flows operates at low gas velocity and large solid fraction. A single-tube solar receiver was tested with 64 mu m mean diameter silicon carbide particles for solar flux densities in the range 200-250 kW/m(2), resulting in a solid particle temperature increase ranging between 50 degrees C and 150 degrees C. The mean wall-to-suspension heat transfer coefficient was calculated from experimental data It is very sensitive to the particle volume fraction of the suspension, which was varied from 26 to 35%, and to the mean particle velocity. Heat transfer coefficients ranging from 140 W/m(2) K to 500 W/m(2) K have been obtained, thus corresponding to a 400 W/m(2) K mean value for standard operating conditions (high solid fraction) at low temperature. A higher heat transfer coefficient may be expected at high temperatures because the wall-to-suspension heat transfer coefficient increases drastically with temperature. The suspension has a heat capacity similar to a liquid heat transfer fluid, with no temperature limitation but the working temperature limit of the receiver tube. Suspension temperatures of up to 750 degrees C are expected for metallic tubes, thus opening new opportunities for high efficiency thermodynamic cycles such as supercritical steam and supercritical carbon dioxide. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.