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Thermal Storage Process and Components Laboratory

The Energy Systems Integration Facility's Thermal Systems Process and Components Laboratory supports research and development, testing, and evaluation of new thermal energy storage systems that are relevant to utility-scale concentrating solar power plants.

Photo of a researcher working with an atmosphere control furnace.

Key Infrastructure and Services

  • 950 square feet of working space
  • Four 10'x10' test bays for evaluation of 30 kW thermal systems
  • Custom test system to provide hot salt or molten metal heat transfer fluid to the test device
  • Thermal energy storage process test loops
  • Outdoor air feed and exhaust for system cooling
  • High efficiency particulate air- (HEPA)-rated enclosure for testing systems containing nanomaterial
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)
  • Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA)

Types of Research

  • Thermal energy storage system testing through multiple charge and discharge cycles
  • Evaluation of heat exchanger performance and storage efficiency
  • Testing of instrument and sensor compatibility with hot heat transfer fluids
  • Evaluation of supercritical heat transfer fluids such as steam or carbon dioxide
  • Chemical analysis of samples and materials
  • Characterization of unknown material samples

Recent Projects

Optimizing and controlling molten salt purification to remove oxygen and water-containing compounds with Savannah River National Laboratory, University of Arizona, University of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office