Heat transfer fluids for concentrating solar power systems - A review

K. Vignarooban, Xinhai Xu, A. Arvay, K. Hsu, Arunachala Mada Kannan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

691 Scopus citations


There is a strong motivation to explore the possibility of harnessing solar thermal energy around the world, especially in locations with temperate weather. This review discusses the current status of heat transfer fluid, which is one of the critical components for storing and transferring thermal energy in concentrating solar power systems. Various types of heat transfer fluids including air, water/steam, thermal oils, organic fluids, molten-salts and liquid metals are reviewed in detail, particularly regarding the melting temperature, thermal stability limit and corrosion issues. Stainless steels and nickel based alloys are the typical piping and container materials for heat transfer fluids. Stability of the stainless steels and alloys while in contact with heat transfer fluids is very important for the longevity of concentrating solar power systems. Corrosion properties of stainless steels and nickel based alloys in different heat transfer fluids are discussed in terms of corrosion rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-396
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - May 5 2015


  • Concentrating solar power
  • Heat transfer fluids
  • High temperature corrosion
  • Molten salts
  • Thermal energy storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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