Concentrated solar energy is becoming the input for an increasing number of thermal systems [1]. Recent papers have indicated that the addition of nanoparticles to conventional working fluids (i.e. nanofluids) can improve heat transfer and solar collection [2–4]. Thermal models developed herein show that nanofluid collectors can be more efficient than conventional concentrating solar thermal technology. This work indicates that power tower schemes are the best application for taking advantage of potential nanofluid efficiency improvements. This study provides a notional design of how such a nanofluid power tower receiver might be built. Using this type of design, we show a theoretical enhancement in efficiency of up to a 10% by using nanofluids. Further, we compare the energy and revenue generated in a conventional solar thermal plant to a nanofluid one. It was found that a 100MWe capacity solar thermal power tower operating in a solar resource similar to Tucson, AZ could generate ∼$3.5 million more per year by incorporating a nanofluid receiver.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.