NiO nanowire-containing heat transfer nanofluids for CSP plants: Experiments and simulations to promote their application

DM De los Santos and I Carrillo-Berdugo and A Dominguez-Nunez and JA Poce-Fatou and D Zorrilla and J Navas, JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR LIQUIDS, 361, 119593 (2022).

DOI: 10.1016/j.molliq.2022.119593

Concentrating solar power (CSP) is considered a clean, renewable and sustainable energy with a significant potential to become an alternative to polluting fossil fuel-based technologies. Among CSP collectors, parabolic-trough collectors (PTC) are the most mature technology, representing nearly 90% of the currently installed collectors in CSP plants worldwide. In this technology, a heat transfer fluid (HTF) carries the thermal energy absorbed to a power block to produce electricity. Improving the thermal properties of the conventional HTF could lead to an improvement of the efficiency of CSP plants. In this sense, the use of nanofluids as the HTF in these plants can be a promising choice. Here, polycrystalline NiO nanowire-containing nanofluids have been prepared using the conventional HTF used in CSP plants as the base fluid; that is, the eutectic and azeotropic mixture of biphenyl (26.5%) and diphenyl oxide (73.5%). The stability, rheological and thermal properties have been characterized, and an analysis of the performance of the nanofluids prepared in standard and volumetric absorbers have been carried out. The overall CSP system performance can be increased up to 34.8% using the nanofluid in a surface collector or up to 34.3% using the nanofluid in a volumetric collector, which are better than the predicted 28.5% using the conventional HTF in a standard surface collector, thanks to the improvements in thermal properties, both specific heat and thermal conductivity. Finally, from molecular dynamics simulations we determined that the mean free path of thermal vibrations is longer for monocrystalline NiO nanowires. Thus, the development of strategies for obtaining this kind of nanostructures is of great interest because they can further improve the efficiency of these nanofluids. (C) 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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