Operation of large-scale pumps and valves in molten salt

D. C. Smith, E. E. Rush, C. W. Matthews, J. M. Chavez, P. A. Bator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The molten salt pump and valve (P and V) test loops at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) operated between Jan. 1988 and Oct. 1990. The purpose of the P and V test was to demonstrate the performance, reliability, and service life of full-scale hot and cold salt pumps and valves for use in commercial central receiver solar power plants. The P and V test hardware consists of two pumped loops; the “Hot Loop” to simulate the hot (565°C) side of the receiver and the “Cold Loop” to simulate the receiver’s cold (285°C) side. Each loop contains a pump and five valves sized to be representative of a conceptual 60MWe commercial solar power plant design. The hot loop accumulated over 6700 hours of operation and the cold loop over 2500 hours of operation. This project has demonstrated that standard commercial scale pump and valve designs will work in molten salt. The test also exposed some pitfalls that must be avoided in specifying such equipment. Although certainly not all of the pitfalls were discovered, careful design and specification should result in reliable or at least workable equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-141
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes


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