Summary of Deliverable 1.3: Analysis of the performance of a small pilot system for demonstrating the technological feasibility

01 August 2022 Publications

A new experimental setup has been specifically prepared for demonstrated the TECSAS technology using a laboratory solar furnace. A small thermal energy storage system was coupled to the thermionic converter to put in thermal contact the thermionic anode with a storage medium, i.e., molten salts. A mixture of Na/K/Li nitrates was selected to play the role of molten salts in the system due to the relatively low (nominal 120 °C) liquidus temperature.
The experiments validation consisted in the evaluation of the thermionic performances based on the inner elements used in the converter and in the consequent refining of the model. Moreover, more interestingly, the results about the use of molten salts, coupled to the anode of the thermionic receiver, were showed. The demonstration of the feasibility of this integration is successfully reported for this small-scale pilot system, with the analyses of the achieved temperatures, the melting period and the stored thermal energy, and the storage time.
Finally, these promising results allow confirming the future, advantageous and affordable applicability of the concept, even if a hard engineering work will be made for scaling-up the system.  In the future, thanks to the fabricated setup, several improvements and/or different operating conditions (i.e., higher operating temperatures, smaller inter-electrode spacers, higher quantity of molten salts, presence of a more proper thermal insulation of the reservoirs, etc.) could be tested to even strengthen the concept and find the most recognized scenario of application (together with the product development roadmap and the business plan outputs).

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