Thermal Stability of Silica for Application in Thermal Energy Storage: Preprint

Patrick Davenport, Zhiwen Ma, William Nation, Jason Schirck, Aaron Morris, Matthew Lambert

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Free from siting constraints, thermal energy storage (TES) shows promise as an economical alternative to traditional pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) and compressed air energy storage (CAES). As potential thermal energy storage media, many solid particles demonstrate stability over wide temperature ranges which allows for increased sensible energy storage density and is essential in achieving low-cost storage. Silica sand, in the form of a-quartz, is one such candidate. This work presents a brief review of relevant silica thermophysical properties and further investigates the thermal stability of silica particles as a candidate TES media by subjecting them to two different thermal campaigns: (1) a 500-hour thermal treatment at 1200 degrees C under varied atmospheres; and (2) cycling 25, 50, and 100 times between 300 degrees C and 1200 degrees C. For both campaigns, particle stability is examined by means of pre- and post-treatment Mie scattering. An additional XRD analysis is conducted for the 500-hour treatment in air. Results indicate limited changes in both particle distribution and crystallographic structure which is promising for the application as solid particle media for thermal energy storage.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2020
Event26th SolarPACES Conference 2020 -
Duration: 28 Sep 20202 Oct 2020


Conference26th SolarPACES Conference 2020

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-83281 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-77426


  • concentrating solar power
  • particle stability
  • quartz
  • sand
  • silica
  • solar
  • thermal energy storage


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