Concentrating solar power (CSP) is an effective means of converting solar energy into electricity with an energy-storage capability for continuous, dispatchable, renewable power generation. However, challenges with current CSP systems include high initial capital cost and electricity price. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot program aims to reduce cost and improve performance of CSP technology. To this end, NREL is developing a solid-particle based CSP system projected to have significant cost and performance advantages over current nitrate-based molten salt systems. The design uses gas/solid, two-phase flow as the heat transfer fluid and separated solid particles as the storage medium. A critical component in the system is a novel near-blackbody (NBB) enclosed particle receiver with high-temperature capability developed with the goal of meeting DOE’s SunShot targets for receiver cost and performance. Development of the NBB enclosed particle receiver necessitates detailed study of the dimensions of the receiver, particle flow conditions, and heat transfer coefficients. The receiver utilizes an array of absorber tubes with a granular medium flowing downward through channels between tubes. The current study focuses on simulation and analysis of granular flow patterns and the resulting convective and conductive heat transfer to the particulate phase. This paper introduces modeling methods for the granular flow through the receiver module and compares the results with an in-situ particle flow test.

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