Authors / Presenters

Lee Weinstein 1; Sungwoo Yang 1; Lin Zhao 1; Bikram Bhatia 1; Elise Strobach 1; David Bierman 1; Thomas Cooper 1; Laureen Meroueh 1; Svetlana B. Boriskina 1; Evelyn N Wang 1; Gang Chen 1


1, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States


Our group has recently developed optically-transparent, thermally-insulating silica aerogels, which allow for the design of a novel, Solar-Thermal Aerogel Receiver (STAR). A transparent aerogel layer placed on top of a high-temperature solar absorber will insulate it from thermal losses while still allowing sunlight to be absorbed. The STAR achieves efficient operation in the absence of vacuum, which allows receiver geometries to move away from traditional vacuum tubes. This flexibility in receiver geometry makes STAR well suited for pairing with linear Fresnel reflector collection optics, which has better land use area and cheaper costs than the traditional parabolic trough collectors. Modeling indicates that STAR paired with linear Fresnel reflectors could produce electricity at 75% of the cost of state-of-the-art vacuum tube receivers paired with parabolic trough collectors. This work was funded by Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) under award number DE-AR0000471.