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School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences

Numerical and experimental investigations into flow of sodium in 3D printed novel solar receivers

Project title:

Numerical and experimental investigations into flow of sodium in 3D printed novel solar receivers

Supervision team:

Dr. Apurv Kumar, Dr. Fatemeh Javidan and Dr. Joe Coventry (The Australian National University).

Contact person:

Apurv Kumar (apurv.kumar@federation.edu.au)

Project outline:

A great imbalance in energy supply and demand is forecasted in coming years which can be mitigated by adopting renewable sources of energy. Concentrated solar power (CSP) is one of the forerunners in the race to exploit the solar energy to supply uninterrupted heat and electricity. One of the ways to tap the influx of solar radiation is to capture them in a highly conductive heat transfer medium such as liquid sodium. Sodium receivers are been designed to operate at high temperatures to enable efficient production of electricity.  The present project aims to model flow of heated sodium in novel receiver designs fabricated using metal 3D printer. Such manufacturing techniques will enable fabrication of modular designs optimised to extract solar energy. The scope of the project includes CFD modelling of sodium flow and heat transfer in such modular designs and FEM investigations into the structural integrity and stresses (both thermal and mechanical) in the 3D printed modular designs. The experiments will be carried out at state of the art solar simulator facility at ANU. The outcome of the project will be an efficient and robust sodium receiver design that can be fabricated with ease using a metal 3D printer.