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Proceedings Paper

Metamaterial-based high efficiency absorbers for high temperature solar applications (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Julius E. Yellowhair; Hoyeong Kwon; Andrea Alù; Robert L. Jarecki; Subhash L. Shinde

Paper Abstract

Operation of concentrated solar power receivers at higher temperatures (<700°C) would enable supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles for improved power cycle efficiencies (<50%) and cost-effective solar thermal power. Unfortunately, radiative losses at higher temperatures in conventional receivers can negatively impact the system efficiency gains. One approach to improve receiver thermal efficiency is to utilize selective coatings that enhance absorption across the visible solar spectrum while minimizing emission in the infrared to reduce radiative losses. Existing coatings, however, tend to degrade rapidly at elevated temperatures. In this paper, we report on the initial designs, fabrication, and characterization of spectrally selective metamaterial-based absorbers for high-temperature, high-thermal flux environments important for solarized sCO2 power cycles. Metamaterials are structured media whose optical properties are determined by sub-wavelength structural features instead of bulk material properties, providing unique solutions by decoupling the optical absorption spectrum from thermal stability requirements. The key enabling innovative concept proposed is the use of structured surfaces with spectral responses that can be tailored to optimize the absorption and retention of solar energy for a given temperature range. In this initial study we use Tungsten for its stability in expected harsh environments, compatibility with microfabrication techniques, and required optical performance. Our goal is to tailor the optical properties for high (near unity) absorptivity across the majority of the solar spectrum and over a broad range of incidence angles, and at the same time achieve negligible absorptivity in the near infrared to optimize the energy absorbed and retained. To this goal, we apply the recently developed concept of plasmonic Brewster angle to suitably designed nanostructured Tungsten surfaces. We predict that this will improve the receiver thermal efficiencies by at least 10% over current solar receivers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 November 2016
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 9937, Next Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VII, 99370B (2 November 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2249813
Show Author Affiliations
Julius E. Yellowhair, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Hoyeong Kwon, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Andrea Alù, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Robert L. Jarecki, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Subhash L. Shinde, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9937:
Next Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VII
Oleg V. Sulima; Gavin Conibeer, Editor(s)

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