Falling Particle Receiver for Concentrated Solar Energy

October 31, 2017 04:06 PM EST By: Regina Ramazzini

The falling particle receiver uses sand-like particles that fall through a beam of highly concentrated sunlight focused by an array of mirrors. The particles are heated to temperatures over 700 °C, stored, and used to generate electricity in a power cycle or to create process heat.

The world’s first continuously recirculating high-temperature falling particle receiver has been tested on-sun at Sandia National Laboratories. Falling particle receivers enable dispatchable electricity production and energy storage using concentrated sunlight. The falling particle receiver implements a simple design that utilizes commercially available ceramic particles that fall through a beam of concentrated sunlight to reach temperatures >700 °C.  The particles can be stored and used to produce electricity or process heat.  The particle receivers yield higher efficiencies and capacity factors at lower costs compared to conventional renewable energy technologies, specifically when storage is considered. Finally, particle receivers open up new possibilities for applications including thermochemical storage, solar fuels, industrial process heat, and water treatment to address our global energy and water needs.


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