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The Falling Particle Receiver for Concentrated Solar Energy, which won a 2016 R&D 100 award, has significant cost and performance advantages over conventional concentrating solar power technologies and intermittent renewables such as wind and photovoltaics. The technology enables clean, renewable energy with cheap, efficient thermal storage that is up to two orders of magnitude less expensive than batteries, pumped-hydro, compressed-air or flywheel storage. The falling particle receiver implements a simple design that uses inexpensive, commercially available particles (currently used in the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracturing) and highly concentrated sunlight to efficiently heat the particles to temperatures greater than 700 °C.

The energy from the hot particles can be stored and dispatched as needed to heat a power cycle to generate electricity when demand is greatest, even when the sun is not shining. The particle receiver yields higher efficiencies and capacity factors and lower costs than conventional renewable energy technologies when storage is considered. Particle receivers open up new possibilities for high-temperature applications including thermochemical storage, solar fuels, industrial process heat and water treatment to address global energy and water needs.

Each year for more than 50 years, R&D Magazine has honored the 100 best innovations in research and development. We are currently accepting applications for the 2017 R&D 100 Awards. Innovators with an exceptional product developed between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 should apply. Submissions close April 14, 2017

For information on the 55th Annual R&D 100 Awards and to enter visit http://www.rd100conference.com

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