Ultra refractory solar absorbers for Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems

Solar thermal technology is a safe sustainable and cost-effective energy supply. Presently, the maximum operating temperature of a solar power plant is <800 K due to degradation of its components. However, efficiency of solar thermal power plants increases with increasing working temperatures. Hence, the problem to be solved is the improvement of the receiver in terms of radiative properties and chemical stability at high temperature.
Ultra High Temperature Ceramics (e.g. borides and carbides of early transition metals) are considered a class of promising materials for application in the aerospace as thermal protection materials. A novel potential application is in the field of solar thermal power, as solar absorbers. UHTCs possess favorable properties (very high melting points and good thermo-mechanical properties at high temperatures and intrinsic selectivity) that can be advantageously exploited to increase the operating temperature of thermodynamic solar plants in concentrating solar power systems. ISTEC develops dense and porous UHTCs ceramics and studies the optical properties in collaboration with INO-CNR.