Direct-absorption solid particle receivers are theoretically capable of yielding temperatures in excess of 1000°C, which enables higher efficiency power cycles and lower thermal storage costs. This paper presents rigorous CFD simulations of alternative solid particle receiver designs with recirculation to help identify optimal configurations that maximize the receiver thermal efficiency. The alternative receiver designs considered are a north-facing cavity receiver and a face-down surround-field cavity receiver. The CFD simulations model incident solar radiation from a heliostat field as a boundary condition on the model domain. The CFD simulations also couple convective flow with the thermal and discrete-phase (particle) solutions, which in turn affects absorption of incident solar radiation and thermal re-radiation within the receiver. The receivers are optimized to yield comparable particle temperatures at the outlets of 750–850°C, heated from an injection temperature of 300°C, and are compared on the basis of thermal efficiency. The CFD simulations yielded thermal efficiencies of the north-facing receiver at 72.3% (losses were 6.5% radiative and 20.9% convective) and the face-down receiver at 78.9% (losses were 11.4% radiative and 9.6% convective) at solar noon on March 22. Ongoing efforts are focused on reducing convective and radiative losses from both receiver configurations.

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