Scientists improve nanofluids for solar power plants

January 22, 2018, Siberian Federal University
A Russian scientist improved nanofluids for solar power plants
The configuration of a solar power plant. Credit: Andrey Yasinskiy

An associate of Siberian Federal University (SFU) teamed up with his foreign colleagues to increase the efficiency of the heat transfer medium used in solar power plants. The results of the study were published in Renewable Energy journal.

Solar power generation is an area of alternative energy that uses solar radiation to produce energy. Sunlight is a , and the generation process is free of waste and emissions. However, solar power plants are extremely weather-dependent and require a vast amount of space.

Still, (especially electrical power stations) are used in many countries. At such plants solar energy is concentrated in reservoirs filled with organic medium. It is a liquid that circulates and transmits the heat to a container with water. The water boils and moves turbines which in turn generate electrical energy.

Many researchers work on the improvement of the heat transfer medium properties trying to speed up the boiling process and thus increase the productivity of solar plants. The authors of the study added nanoparticles of titanium dioxide TiO2 in different concentrations to a liquid medium consisting of biphenyl C12H10 and oxydiphenyl C12H10O. The scientists point out that they had to take a lot of parameters into consideration, including physical stability. They report that the liquid should keep its physical properties for a long time, and its particles should not precipitate. When the researchers found the optimal composition of the nanofluid, they studied its characteristics: viscosity, density, isobaric specific heat, and .

"We've established that after titanium nanoparticles are added to the heat transfer fluid, its properties radically change. With the increase of temperature, the coefficient of the base fluid and titanium dioxide particles reduced, but after the nanofluid was prepared, the values started increasing," says Andrey Yasinskiy, a co-author of the work, senior lecturer at the department of non-ferrous metallurgy of the School of Non-ferrous Metals and Materials Science, SFU.

In the course of their work, the scientists used optical spectroscopy to determine physical stability of the nanofluid and dynamic light scattering method to calculate the size of nanoparticles. To evaluate the efficiency of the liquid, the researchers made measurements three times a day for 30 days. In particular, they checked for the aggregation of particles, i.e. their agglutination leading to precipitation. When particles in a nanofluid precipitate, the effect from the admixtures reduces.

"The nanoliquid we've developed will help generate electrical in a more effective way. Naturally, we plan to implement it into industry-specific processes, but the whole work was performed with the use of the equipment provided by our Spanish colleagues, so further development of the study will depend on them. I can't but mention the contribution of professor Javier Navas of the University of Cadiz. The idea of the study was his," added the researcher.

Explore further: Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity

Related Stories

Nanoparticles improve solar collection efficiency

April 5, 2011

Using minute graphite particles 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, mechanical engineers at Arizona State University hope to boost the efficiency -- and profitability -- of solar power plants.

Using sulfur to store solar energy

May 3, 2017

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and their European partners plan to develop an innovative sulfur-based storage system for solar power. Large-scale chemical storage of solar power and its overnight use ...

Discovery improves heat transfer in boiling

December 14, 2016

While the average person associates boiling with cooking dinner, the process is also widely used to transfer heat across surfaces. It is used in refrigerators, in industrial boilers and even on the international space station ...

Arizona solar plant achieves six hours after sun goes down

October 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —Abengoa's Solana plant in the desert near Gila Bend, Arizona, passed commercial testing this week The 280-megawatt Solana solar thermal power plant producing electricity without direct sunlight made the announcement ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.