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SolarPACES Particle Technology Working Group

Problem Statement

  • A great deal of particle-based research is occurring internationally in the fields of power generation, thermochemistry, solar fuels, thermal storage, and process heat. However, very little coordination exists, leading to the potential for redundancy and duplication of efforts.  In addition, a lack of coordination inhibits knowledge transfer and expedited progress, and opportunities for fundamental research and model development/validation to enable technology improvements may be overlooked.

Value Proposition

  • The Particle Technology Working Group will initiate coordination among particle researchers in SolarPACES to create a shared database of particle research, needs/gaps, collaborations and task sharing opportunities
    • Avoid duplication
    • Greater return on investment
    • Accelerate development and market introduction
    • Stronger basis for funding opportunities


  • Share, understand, and coordinate research among the SolarPACES particle technology community
    • Establish a common platform for identifying needs and research for particle-based systems
    • Coordinate activities (task share) for different components
      • Get same result with less resources; more return on investment; avoid duplication
      • For proposals, each institution can focus on specific areas of strength
  • Establish a database (website or report) of particle-based technology and research for public dissemination; include needs and gaps
  • Develop collaborative proposal(s) to expedite advancement of particle-based CSP systems

Advantages of Particle-Based Systems

  • Particles can be used to store and convert energy across a large temperature range for multiple applications
    • Electricity production
    • Process heat
    • Thermochemistry / fuels
  • Higher temperatures relative to molten nitrate salts (> 1000 C vs. < 600 C)
  • Potential to be cheaper than current molten-nitrate salt systems
  • Multiple applications
    • CSP Power Systems (Task 1)
    • Thermochemical processing and fuels (Task 2)
    • Storage (Task 3)
    • Process Heat (Task 4)
  • More flexible across larger temperature ranges
    • Eliminate trace heating to prevent freezing of salts
    • No danger of overheating

PTWG Workshop, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 19 – 20, 2017

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