Enhancement of Heat Capacity of Molten Salt Eutectics using Inorganic Nanoparticles for Solar Thermal Energy Applications
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Thermal energy storage using phase change materials have been widely investigated for concentrating solar power applications. The system efficiency in concentrating solar power applications is affected significantly by the storage temperature, while 70% of the total cost of solar power arises from the material costs of the thermal storage devices. Hence, increasing the operating temperature and decreasing the size of the storage materials can reduce the cost of solar energy. Molten salts (such as carbonate eutectics) have melting points between 200°C and 600°C and are stable up to 600°C They are also reasonably cheap and environmentally safe. However, the specific heat of the molten salts are low (< 2 J/gK) compared to other conventional thermal storage materials. In this study, silica and magnesia nanoparticles were doped in various carbonate and chloride eutectic mixtures of Ba, Na, Ca, Li and K. Specific heat measurements were performed using a differential scanning calorimeter. The specific heat of the eutectics in both solid and liquid phase were enhanced dramatically (greater than ∼6%-20%) on addition of nanoparticles of silica and magnesia, at only 1-1.5% mass concentrations. Materials characterization studies showed that the nanoparticles induced nano-scale phase transformations in the solvent phase.
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Developments in Strategic Materials and Computational Design II