Nanofluids based on molten carbonate salts for high-temperature thermal energy storage: thermophysical properties, stability, compatibility and life cycle analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Yaroslav Grosu
  • Argyrios Anagnostopoulos
  • Boris Balakin
  • Janusz Krupanek
  • Luis González-Fernández
  • Abdessamad Faik

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA)
  • University of Silesia in Katowice
  • Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Dział Badań i Rozwoju
  • Mohammed VI Polytechnic University


Molten salts-based nanofluids have been widely considered for Thermal Energy Storage (TES) applications due to their enhanced thermophysical properties. However, the application of such fluids faces many challenges, among which are the correct determination of their properties, stability, compatibility with construction materials and the overall environmental impact. In this work, we attempt to provide a comprehensive analysis of nanofluids based on nano-alumina and molten carbonate salt for the benefit of next-generation high-temperature TES applications. In particular, considerable statistics, cross-verification, novel preparation and characterization methods were applied to record ~12% increase of thermal conductivity, ~7% increase of heat capacity and ~35% increase of viscosity. It was demonstrated that such nanofluids have poor dispersion stability under static conditions; however, the enhanced thermophysical properties can be maintained by mechanical stimuli, e.g. mixing or redistribution. We show that some nanoparticles interact with typical construction materials such as stainless steel 310 by forming mixed oxides and considerably reducing the corrosion rates. An erosion study has been performed demonstrating negligible effect of nanoparticles even in the case of their strong agglomeration. Finally, life cycle analysis revealed that viscosity and preparation method of such nanofluids must be targeted to minimize the environmental impact.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: This work is supported by the Basque Government through its Ikermugikortasuna Mobility Grant for Research Collaboration number MV_2019_1_0020. The authors express their sincere thanks to Yagmur Polat and Cristina Luengo for their technical support. This work has been developed by participants of the COST Action CA15119 Overcoming Barriers to Nanofluids Market Uptake (NANOUPTAKE). AA, MEN and YD would like to thank UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for partial support under Grants EP/P004709/1, EP/P00945X/1 and EP/S032622/1. Publisher Copyright: © 2020


Original languageEnglish
Article number110838
Number of pages11
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Early online date22 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021