Direct energy conversion using liquid metals
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
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Published online: 10 December 2014
Liquid metals have excellent properties to be used as heat transport fluids due to their high thermal conductivity and their wide applicable temperature range. The latter issue can be used to go beyond limitations of existing thermal solar energy systems. Furthermore, the direct energy converter Alkali Metal Thermo Electric Converter (AMTEC) can be used to make intangible areas of energy conversion suitable for a wide range of applications. One objective is to investigate AMTEC as a complementary cycle for the next generation of concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. The experimental research taking place in the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is focused on the construction of a flexible AMTEC test facility, development, test and improvement of liquid-anode and vapor-anode AMTEC devices as well as the coupling of the AMTEC cold side to the heat storage tank proposed for the CSP system. Within this project, the investigations foreseen will focus on the analyses of BASE-metal interface, electrode materials and deposition techniques, corrosion and erosion of materials brought in contact with high temperature sodium. This prototype demonstrator is planned to be integrated in the KArlsruhe SOdium LAboratory (KASOLA), a flexible closed mid-size sodium loop, completely in-house designed, presently under construction at the Institute for Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology (INR) within KIT.
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