High Efficiency Process Heating

High Efficiency Solar Thermal with Storage.

Institute of Gas Technology dba Gas Technology Institute


Des Plaines, IL

Recipient Location



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Update

As of September 18, 2021, the recipient indicated that the technical performance of the absorber is lower than expected resulted in reduced efficiency. The reasons include a lower than expected flow rate of the heat transfer fluid and the size of the unit itself causing unwanted bending. The bending issue seems to be the most intractable problem that needs immediate attention. A potential solution has been identified that will reduce the absorber length to 2 m which reduces the bending potential by 75%. A plan is being developed to confirm the behavior of the current 4 m long receiver and allow changes to the design which will result in an improved 2 m long design. The project has been delayed due to COVID-19 and time extension to 6/30/2023 will be needed.

The Issue

Current technologies for reducing natural gas use in industrial processes involve reducing heat losses and/or recovering and recycling heat that would be otherwise lost. A wide range of technologies are available, but many provide only modest gains in energy efficiency and long payback periods, and some may adversely affect the process. Solar thermal for process heating is attractive but current technologies are either limited to low temperature applications, not distributable, or not economical.

Project Innovation

This project demonstrates the integration of high temperature solar
thermal energy with an industrial process to significantly reduce
natural gas use. The Solar Thermal System will be tested initially to
address any manufacturing, assembly, or operational issues and acquire
performance data prior to integration with an industrial process at a
demonstration site. The project will assess the assumption that the
Solar Thermal System technology can be seamlessly integrated into
existing infrastructure and controls, allowing for a straight-forward
installation and reliable operation, while providing more than 20%
natural gas reduction with a simple payback of less than 5 years.

Project Benefits

If the high temperature STS technology can deliver cost-effective and on-demand, high temperature process heat it will greatly expand the industrial market for solar thermal which will have a major impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the industrial sector.

Lower Costs


The STS technology is estimated to have a simple payback of less than 5 years, which make this technology cost effective for industries looking for alternatives to fossil fuel combustion.

Key Project Members

Project Member

David Cygan

Project Manager



University of California, Merced


Particulate Solid Research Institute (PSRI)


Match Partners


GTI Energy


Particulate Solid Research Institute (PSRI)


Contact the Team