Molten Salt vs. Liquid Sodium Receiver Selection Using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

Craig Turchi, Cara Libby, Joe Coventry, John Pye

Research output: NRELPresentation


An international team led by NREL analyzed the favorability of two alternative liquid receiver designs for a 700+ degrees C receiver under the Gen3 CSP Liquid Pathway project. The competing liquid heat transfer fluids were a ternary chloride salt and liquid-metal sodium. The team applied a facilitated analytic hierarchy process to arrive at a recommended alternative and set a path forward for the project. The AHP criteria were formulated, weighted, and scored by the project leadership team and technical advisory committee consisting of energy industry and CSP experts. The six-month process culminated with a two-day workshop where the sodium alternative was deemed to have both a significantly higher benefit (19.3%) and a lower LCOE (11.4%), with only a slightly higher risk (~3%) than the salt alternative. Consequently, a sodium-receiver design was selected for the Liquid Pathway project, where it will be used to charge a two-tank chloride salt thermal energy storage system.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 26th SolarPACES Conference 2020, 28 September - 2 October 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5700-77819


  • central receiver
  • CSP
  • Gen3
  • liquid sodium
  • molten salt


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