Phase change materials (PCMs) are commonly used as energy storage mediums in solar thermal systems. This paper investigates the mixture of PCM doped with nanoparticles to be used as HTFs directly integrated in a U-pipe ETC to be applied in solar thermal collectors. The selected type of PCM-HTF in this study is erythritol (C4H10O4), with high specific heat capacity in liquid form, as well as its unique sub-cooling behavior. In order to overcome the low thermal conductivity of erythritol and further enhance specific heat capacity, a weight concentration of 1% multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) is added. Additionally, to insure even distribution of MWCNT and consistent properties of the HTF, triethanolamine (TEA) is proposed to be incorporated as a dispersant. The samples were each tested in a Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) to analyze their thermal properties. The results from the DSC tests show 12.4% enhancement of specific heat capacity of the proposed HTF mixture as well as nearly 5° C depression of freezing onset temperature. This study allows for the optimization of the operating temperature range of the collector when integrated with these materials, where direct heat gain can be obtained in the collector.

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