Internal insulation and corrosion control of molten chloride thermal energy storage tanks

March 19, 2021

Internal insulation and corrosion control of molten chloride thermal energy storage tanks

Samuel H. Gage (1), Josh J. Bailey (2), Donal P. Finegan (1), Dan J.L. Brett (2), Paul R. Shearing (2), Craig S. Turchi (1)
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 225, March 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2021.111048


Gen3 CSP; Molten chloride salt; Thermal energy storage; Refractory ceramics; Corrosion science; Surface passivation


A chloride-based molten-salt system that uses a ternary blend of MgCl2/KCl/NaCl is investigated to provide higher-temperature thermal energy storage capability than conventional nitrate salt-based systems. Despite their high thermal stability and operating temperature, molten chlorides present several challenges, including the design of internal liners to prevent the corrosion and thermal stress of alloy tank shells. This work discusses issues and potential solutions related to containment of molten chloride salt, specifically the optimization of the hot face refractory materials for use as internal liners. Three down-selected refractory materials were analyzed with respect to permeation of salt through the material as well as chemical stability during high temperature operation. Through the application of X-ray imaging and electron spectroscopy techniques, highly stable secondary surface phases in equilibrium with the molten salt were identified, as well as time-dependent changes in the salt composition itself.

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Author Affiliation

(1) National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO, 80401, USA.
(2) Electrochemical Innovation Lab, Department of Chemical Engineering, University College London, London, WC1E 7JE, UK.