concentrating solar, receiver, volumetric, external, cavity, solid particle


This paper reviews central receiver designs for concentrating solar power applications with high-temperature power cycles. Desired features include low-cost and durable materials that can withstand high concentration ratios (~1000 suns), heat-transfer fluids that can withstand temperatures > 650°C, high solar absorptance, and low radiative and convective heat losses leading to a thermal efficiency > 90%. Different receiver designs are categorized and evaluated in this paper: (1) gas receivers, (2) liquid receivers, and (3) solid particle receivers. For each design, the following information is provided: general principle and review of previous modeling and testing activities, expected outlet temperature and thermal efficiency, benefits, perceived challenges, and research needs. Emerging receiver designs that can enable higher thermal-toelectric efficiencies (50% or higher) using advanced power cycles such as supercritical CO2 closed-loop Brayton cycles include direct heating of CO2 in tubular receiver designs (external or cavity) that can withstand high internal fluid pressures (~20 MPa) and temperatures (~700°C). Indirect heating of other fluids and materials that can be stored at high temperatures such as advanced molten salts, liquid metals, or solid particles are also being pursued, but challenges include stability, heat loss, and the need for high-temperature heat exchangers.

Original Publication Citation

Ho, C. K. and Iverson, B. D., 2014, "Review of high-temperature central receiver designs for concentrating solar power," Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 29, pp. 835-846. doi:10.1016/j.ser.2013.08.099

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering