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CERAMIC/CARBON-BASED COMPOSITE MATERIALS FOR THE CONTAINMENT OF MOLTEN CHLORIDES FOR THERMAL ENERGY STORAGE
thesisposted on 11.12.2020, 05:37 by Elizabeth A Laskowski
The desire to mitigate climate change and reduce energy dependence on fossil fuels has launched global efforts towards finding renewable energy solutions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, within the United States, solar sources account for about 1% of the electricity supply, a number that is expected to grow to 14% by 2030 and 27% by 2050.Such growth will be dependent on lowering the cost of concentrated solar power (CSP), which is a large-scale solar technology that concentrates the sun’s heat rather than photovoltaic conversion. CSP offers relatively easy grid integration, and most importantly, can be naturally paired with thermal energy storage that allows electricity to be produced on demand even when the sun is not shining and has been the most cost-effective energy storage to date. Lowering the cost of CSP requires raising the operating temperatures above 700oC. At these temperatures, traditionally used nitrate-based salts are no longer stable, and efforts have focused on using chloride-based salts, which offer high-temperature stabilities, low viscosities, and relatively high heat capacities. Additionally, seawater-derived chlorides (CaCl2, MgCl2, NaCl, and KCl)are cheap, plentiful, and nontoxic. However, such chlorides are especially corrosive, and finding a long term containment solution that is not corroded nor wet and penetrated by the molten chlorides has proved to be one of the most significant challenges to using chloride salts in CSP. The approach of this study is to combine the nonwetting behavior of carbonaceous materials with cost-effective castable ceramics. By evaluating the effectiveness of these carbon-ceramic systems, effective containment solutions for molten chlorides have been identified for low-cost thermal energy storage for CSP so as to enable CSP as a competitive alternative to fossil fuels.