High-Temperature Phase Change Materials (PCM) Candidates for Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Applications

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


It is clearly understood that lower overall costs are a key factor to make renewable energy technologies competitive with traditional energy sources. Energy storage technology is one path to increase the value and reduce the cost of all renewable energy supplies. Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies have the ability to dispatch electrical output to match peak demand periods by employingthermal energy storage (TES). Energy storage technologies require efficient materials with high energy density. Latent heat TES systems using phase change material (PCM) are useful because of their ability to charge and discharge a large amount of heat from a small mass at constant temperature during a phase transformation like melting-solidification. PCM technology relies on the energyabsorption/liberation of the latent heat during a physical transformation. The main objective of this report is to provide an assessment of molten salts and metallic alloys proposed as candidate PCMs for TES applications, particularly in solar parabolic trough electrical power plants at a temperature range from 300..deg..C to 500..deg.. C. The physical properties most relevant for PCMs servicewere reviewed from the candidate selection list. Some of the PCM candidates were characterized for: chemical stability with some container materials; phase change transformation temperatures; and latent heats.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2011

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-51446


  • concentrating solar power
  • CSP
  • latent heat
  • melting point
  • phase change materials
  • TES
  • thermal energy storage
  • transformation temperatures


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