Guidelines for Phase Change Material Selection Based on a Holistic System Model: Article No. 110422

Eric Toberer, Jonathan Rea, Nathan Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations


Concentrating solar power (CSP) has potential to increase the amount of renewable energy on electric grids and reduce global carbon emissions, in particular because of its capability to incorporate inexpensive thermal energy storage. To realize this potential, development of latent heat storage with phase change materials (PCMs) is attractive because of its high energy density and low material cost. Research in this area has identified many promising materials, and has developed effective storage system designs that could be used to deploy PCMs. However, the field has lacked a rigorous methodology to select the optimal material for a particular CSP system. To address this need, here we present a holistic model that evaluates all important influences of PCM properties on the performance and cost of an entire CSP plant. We apply this model to over 100 of the most widely considered candidate materials, including both salts and metals. We quantify the relative value of each PCM property, and identify leading materials for application in CSP systems. This method and our results may aid future efforts to develop latent heat storage by providing a more informed view of how material selection impacts an entire CSP system.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-76113


  • concentrating solar power
  • holistic system model
  • latent heat storage
  • phase change material
  • techno-economic analysis
  • thermal energy storage


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