Lab Partnering Service Discovery
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The 10-kilowatt High-Flux Solar Furnace (HFSF) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been in operation since 1990 and consists of a tracking heliostat and 25 hexagonal, slightly concave mirrors to concentrate solar radiation. The solar furnace can quickly generate up to 1,800 °C over a 1-cm2 area—and up to 3,000 °C with specialized secondary optics to generate concentrations greater than 20,000 suns. Flux levels and distributions can also be tailored to the needs of a particular research activity.
The operational characteristics and size of the facility make it ideal for testing over a wide range of technologies with a diverse set of experimental requirements:
- The high-heating rates create the perfect tool for testing high-temperature materials, coatings on metals and ceramics, and other materials-related applications. The power generated can be used to evaluate many components—such as receivers, collectors, and reflector materials—used in concentrating solar power systems.
- The facility can provide a platform for testing prototype advanced converters and chemical reactors for solar-electric and solar-chemistry applications. Researchers can also use the HFSF to evaluate and develop state-of-the-art measurement systems for the extreme solar environment.
- The HFSF facility can determine secondary concentrator requirements and configuration by using SolTrace modeling. If modeling shows a requirement for a special secondary concentrator, NREL can be instrumental in designing and integrating this concentrator into the HFSF test area. For more information on SolTrace modeling, contact Tim Wendelin.
- The HFSF facility also includes an ultra-accelerated weathering system (UAWS) for testing of outdoor materials. UAWS provides up to 100× ultraviolet concentration to accelerate aging of materials used outdoors. For more information on UAWS, contact Robert Tirawat.
For more information, please visit the HFSF website
- Director’s Discretionary Allocation: for high impact science and engineering problems that exceed a company’s internal computing capabilities;
- ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC): for larger high-risk, high-payoff simulations that are directly related to the DOE mission (such as advancing energy efficiency);
- INCITE: Computationally intensive, large-scale research projects pursuing transformational advances in science and engineering through the use of a substantial allocation of computer time and data storage or that require the unique leadership-class architectural infrastructure.
Argonne’s expertise in ceramic NDE is well established in the engineering community. The laboratory’s capabilities include phased array ultrasonics, X-ray computed tomography, thermal imaging, optical coherence tomography, confocal microscopy, microwave/millimeter-wave (MW/ MMW) sensing, eddy current testing, and optical laser backscatter.
A Radioanaltyical Counting Laboratory is connected via an adjoining door to the Radioactive Material Handling Laboratory. This convenience is vital for working with radioactive materials as all the steps during a given process can be immediately characterized by alpha and gamma-ray assay. The laboratory is equipped with numerous detectors.
The Test Chamber is designed to maintain a single point operating condition and is able to maintain dry bulb temperatures in the range of 40°F to 120°F and humidity conditions in the range of 30% to 95%. It has the capability of testing four refrigeration units simultaneously at a single operating condition.
As a result of this mission, AL receives a wide variety of samples from across INL, as well as from other outside entities. Sample types include liquids, solids, and irradiated/unirradiated fuel related to activities such as research and development, material accountability, radiation monitoring, process monitoring, and environmental monitoring. Engineering development activities, such as the preparation of samples for irradiation testing, are also supported by the AL.