Concentrated solar power (CSP) has been known to as a considerable and widely used renewable energy resource. However, in order to compete with other renewable energies in the market, the energy retained CSP must be utilized so that it is cost-effective and efficiently run. I will be particularly focusing on the CSP coating materials that are line the heliostats and are the first recipients of the sun’s solar energy in a CSP system. The cost-effectiveness and efficiency is will be conducted in three steps. The first step will be examining the most cost-effective approach to their material deposition. I will testing out a variety of techniques such as plasma spraying, powder coating, Anilox coating, etc., to see which one will allow the absorber material to absorb as much light energy as possible. The second step is to insure that the CSP absorber coating materials are spectrally-selective. CSP absorb radiant energy in the ultraviolet and visible spectra while emitting in the infrared, correlating to reduced waste heat loss. Since many CSP experiments are concerned with a high absorbance and low emittance rate, it would be useful to find a coating that has anti-reflective properties, similar to that of spectacles. This coating would be needed to be tested for its durability in the midst of the sensationally high temperatures that CSP is exposed to. The third step is ensuring that the materials operate at very high temperature. For my research, I would like to propose using a consistent nanoparticle matter, such as mixture of cobalt oxide and other metal oxides, as the nanoparticle material has been known to remain intact even after exposure to 750°C for long periods of time. Repeatedly testing this material to see what type of coating process allows the material to perform at the most optimal levels is something I would like to invest in researching.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) platforms is enabled through higher temperature operation, maximizing electric power output from solar thermal energy conversion. One significant technology for reliable high-temperature operation has been the implementation of high temperature durable spectrally-selective solar absorber coatings – they can absorb ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared solar irradiation while limiting spontaneous thermal radiation from emittance at higher wavelengths. For this project, metal-oxide solar absorber coatings have been investigated for high temperature CSP energy conversion, as it aims to develop low-cost, energy-efficient syntheses for larger-scale implementation. Implications for environmental, economic, and biological impacts will also be considered.
The Energy & Environmental Materials Laboratory at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is currently investigating variant metal-oxide materials that can be utilized to efficiently absorb solar thermal energy leading to enhanced CSP system efficiency. Succeeding metrological analyses including Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) quantification, X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), and profilometry, our development of metal-oxide solar absorber coatings is characterized through spectroscopic measurements (FTIR & scan monochromatic) on an optical testbench to identify spectral absorptive response, inherently classifying new materials and their feasibility for energy-efficient solar absorber coaters.