Molten salts have been widely considered as the leading candidate heat transfer fluids (HTF) used in high temperature, concentrated solar power plants. Specifically, nitrate and nitrite based salts have been investigated as a HTF and even deployed in pilot plants generating up to 19.9 MW of electricity at operating temperatures above 500 °C. New plant designs requiring higher operating temperatures for better efficiencies are pushing the stability limit of HTF. This paper presents an overview of the thermophysical properties of nitrate and nitrite salts and discusses thermodynamic and kinetic stability limitations as they relate to concentrated solar power generation.
About the author
Joseph G. Cordaro is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 and did postdoctoral research at the ETH in Zurich and then the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since joining Sandia, he has worked on designing new heat transfer fluids for solar thermal energy production and storage.
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