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Russian and Spanish researchers have taken a new step in improving the concentration efficiency of solar power plants. For this, this team has found an innovative solution that improves efficiency compared to conventional heat transfer fluids (HTF) by up to 35.4%. The incorporation of titanium dioxide nanoparticles was the key to the success of this innovation.

“When titanium particles bind to the heat-transporting fluid, their properties change dramatically”Andrey Yasiniskiy, expert in Federal University of Siberia, in Russia. He collaborated on the project with Javier Navas and Teresa Aguilar, among others members of the universities of Cadiz and Seville who were at the origin of this innovation.

At the heart of the international team, improving the efficiency of energy production by the sun in thermosolar plants. And, in that sense, the results of the project suggest that the goal is within reach. “Nanofluids based on titanium dioxide nanoparticles appear to be a promising alternative”, emphasize the scientists in the conclusions of their study, published in ScienceDirect.

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Thus, the work starts from the normal operation of concentrated solar power plants, in which solar energy is concentrated in reserves filled with a liquid which, when it circulates, transfers the heat to another container, in this case with the water. By taking this temperature, the turbines are set in motion to, in this way, generate electrical energy.

Given the importance of the transport fluid, the team turned to him to incorporate biphenyl and diphenyl oxide from the conventional liquid, two new elements used as surfactants. These are precisely the titanium dioxide, to which octadecanethiol has been added in equal parts.

Once these components were added, the experts then analyzed in detail the physical and thermal properties of the new fluid, as well as its stability, density and viscosity level. Among the elements that received the most attention, according to their study team, “Remarkable improvement in the properties of the system in terms of heat transfer”.

Within three to five days the system set in and the results started to show. Among the most significant was the improvement in thermal properties, which was 52.7% in the case of specific heat in the isobaric process and 25.8% in terms of thermal conductivity. In addition to being more efficient than other liquids at any temperature, the titanium-based fluid allowed an efficiency improvement of 35.4% compared to the pure fluids commonly used in the concentration of solar power plants. .

After obtaining these results, the project continues with the objective that innovation goes beyond the laboratory. And, if implemented, it could dramatically increase the efficiency of power generation in concentrating thermal power plants.