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

Craig Turchi, Cara Libby, John Pye, Joe Coventry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


An international team led by NREL analyzed the favorability of two alternative liquid receiver designs for a 700+ °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 (AHP) 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 pages13
StatePublished - 2021
Event26th SolarPACES Conference 2020 -
Duration: 28 Sep 20202 Oct 2020


Conference26th SolarPACES Conference 2020

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-83286 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-77913


  • analytic hierarchy process
  • CSP
  • liquid sodium
  • molten salt
  • solar receiver


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