Nathan P. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Spherical sintered bauxite particles between 200 μm and 700 μm in diameter have been shown to be effective in the direct absorption and storage of concentrated solar energy. These particles are commercially available in large quantities and exhibit as-received solar weighted absorptance (αs) greater than 0.90, which gradually degrades with extended heating in air at 700 °C and above. The degradation mechanism is an oxidation reaction that can be reversed via thermal or chemical reduction, resulting in αs > 0.95 along with enhanced resistance to further degradation for some formulations. Certain metal oxide pigments, added to Al2O3:SiO2, have proven to achieve solar weighted absorptance levels similar to those of the commercially available particles and may be promising alternatives to currently available materials.
Siegel, Nathan P.; Gross, Michael D.; and Coury, Robert. “The Development of Direct Absorption and Storage Media for Falling Particle Solar Central Receivers.” ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 137, no. 4 (2015).