Development of stable porous silica-coated Ca(OH)2/γ-Al2O3 pellets for dehydration/hydration cycles with application in thermochemical heat storage
Thermochemical heat storage based on the CaO + H2O ↔ Ca(OH)2 system is extremely promising in CSP plants that can reach medium to high temperatures, such as those equipped with tower and heliostats. However, the attrition of pure CaO pellets is a major drawback that hampers an actual commercial development. This work proposes the dip-coating of mixed Ca(OH)2/γ-Al2O3 spherical and cylindrical pellets with dense silica and AlMCM-41 (mesoporous silica) gels. The original hardness of pure Ca(OH)2 pellets (<2 N) can be increased up to 31 N using 40 wt% alumina as binder and applying a silica coating. Both gels formed a hard calcium silicate layer upon calcination that helped keeping the structural integrity of the samples after dehydration/hydration cycles. The samples were tested in 10 consecutive cycles at dehydration and hydration temperatures of 600 ◦C and 250–425 ◦C, respectively. Cylindrical pieces displayed higher hardness values and hydration yields compared to the spherical counterparts. Interestingly, porous silica-coated cylindrical pellets achieved a remarkable hydration yield of 85% and presented a hardness value of 8 N after cycling. This was due to its porous nature and the composition of the coating, formed by thin sheets and small grains, which allowed preserving the outer porous structure of the pellet.
The authors wish to thank Comunidad de Madrid and European Structural Funds for their financial support to ALCCONES project (S2013/MAE-2985) and ACES2030-CM project (S2018/EMT-4319). C. M. Valverde-Pizarro and I. Barras-García thank Comunidad de Madrid for the funding through the grants PEJD-2017-PRE/AMB-4390 and PEJ-2019-AI/IND-15395, respectively. The TEM images were acquired at the National Centre of Electronic Microscopy at the Complutense University of Madrid.
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