Design and Testing of a Gravity-Fed Direct Absorption Solid Particle Receiver for Concentrated Solar Power Applications

  • Alberto Crespo Iniesta

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Concentrated solar power technologies have the potential to become widely available if integrated with thermal energy storage systems in order to dispatch electricity production from solar resources. In order to reduce the cost of the systems and become more competitive, an important area of improvement is the usage of alternative materials such as granular solids which are stable at temperatures above 600 ÂșC, hence contributing also to higher efficiencies in the power block of the power plants. This master thesis investigated a gravity-fed direct absorption solar receiver integrated with a storage system employing solid particles as heat collector, heat transfer and thermal energy storage media. The focus was on the charging and the discharging steps of the system. The discharging step was studied through computational fluid dynamics, while the charging step was experimentally investigated by the development of two laboratory scale prototypes of the solar receiver which were tested with sand particles from the UAE desert and silicon carbide particles. The thesis concludes with preliminary design considerations of the upscaling of the laboratory scale prototype to a pre-commercial 12.5 kW prototype to supply theoretical power 24 hours a day to be installed at the beam down optical experiment at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform. The scenario of a beam down 20 MW power plant with 24 hours operation was also considered.
Date of AwardMay 2015
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorNicolas Calvet (Supervisor)


  • Solar Power
  • Thermal Energy Storage
  • Electricity Production
  • Granular Solids
  • Solid Particles
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Cite this