Molten salts (MS) in the 580°C range could be used to store excess energy from solar power stations and possibly from nuclear or coal. The energy can be stored up to a week in large containers at elevated temperature to generate eight hours of electricity to be used at night or during peak demand hours. This helps to reduce the fluctuation experienced at thermal solar power stations due to weather conditions. Our research supported by Office of Naval Research (ONR), presents a survey of salts to be used in molten salt technology. The physical characteristics of these salts such as density, melting temperature, viscosity, electric conductivity, surface tension, thermal capacity and cost are discussed. Cost is extremely important given the large volumes of salt required for energy storage at a commercial power station. Formulas are presented showing the amount of salt needed per required megawatts of stored energy depending on the type of salt. The estimated cost and the size of tanks required and the operating temperatures are presented. Recommendations are made regarding the most efficient type of molten salt to use. Commercial thermal solar power stations have been constructed in the US and overseas mainly in Spain for which molten salt is being considered. A field of flat mirrors together with collection towers are used in some designs and parabolic troughs used in others.
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