In order to increase the thermal efficiency and produce process heat for hydrogen production, the operating temperature of the heat-transfer fluid in thermal solar plants needs to increase, but to increase the operating temperature, new heat-transport liquids need to be evaluated. Liquid metals have been proposed as heat-transport fluids because of the large temperature ranges over which they remain liquid. One of the most studied liquid metals for non-solar applications has been lead-bismuth eutectic alloy (LBE), for the nuclear industry. The main challenge with using LBE as a coolant is that the major constituents of structural steels have high solubility in LBE. In this work, the challenges of using LBE as a high temperature heat-transport fluid are discussed, as well as initial results of high-temperature static corrosion tests of structural steels to evaluate their potential use in a thermal solar power plant.

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