The solar energy converter in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system, applies the solid frame structure of the ceramic foams to receive the concentrated solar radiation, convert it into thermal energy, and heat the air flow through the ceramic foams by convection heat transfer. In this paper, first, the pressure drops in the studied ceramic foams were measured under all kinds of flow condition. Based on the experimental results, an empirical numerical model was built for the air flow through ceramic foams. Second, a 3-D numerical model was built, for the receiving and conversion of the solar energy in the ceramic foams of the solar energy converter. Third, applying two aforementioned numerical models, the numerical studies of the thermal performance were carried out, for the solar energy converter filled with the ceramic foams, and results show that the structure parameters of the ceramic foams, the effective reflective area and the solar radiation intensity of the solar concentrator, have direct impacts on the absorptivity and conversion efficiency of the solar energy in the solar energy converter. And the results of the numerical studies are found to be in reasonable agreement with the experimental measurements. This paper will provide a reference for the design and manufacture of the solar energy converter with the ceramic foams.

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