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Case History 17

silica sand vertical elevator

Case History 17


Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Casing Diameter: 7 inches
Elevation: 35 feet
Rate per hour: 8 tons
Material: Silica Sand
Temperature: 1100°F (600°C)


A leading Saudi Arabian university, in cooperation with a leading U.S. university and the Department of Energy built a pilot scale Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant to test a new Heat Transfer Fluid (Sand). CSP involves capturing the heat from the sun via an array of mirrors (heliostats) that focus a concentrated beam of sunlight onto a single point where the thermal energy is transferred to a heat transfer fluid (HTF) like synthetic oil or molten salt. Both of these HTF’s are limited to how hot they can be heated: 400°C for oil and 650°C for salt. Sand, however can be heated to 800°C which allows for a more efficient production of steam to run an electric turbine. After the heat is extracted from the sand to make steam, the now “cool” sand (600°C) is returned to the Olds elevator for elevation to the top of the solar tower to be re-heated to 800°C once again.

The unique design of the Olds elevator allows it to handle high temperature materials without mechanical interference of moving parts due to thermal expansion.

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