Molten Salt Test Loop Project (fabrication)

Sandia National Laboratories

Consistent expert presence was critical to implementing this technology which consists of pumping molten salt through various types of solar collectors such as parabolic troughs or elevated tower receivers. In a functioning loop, mirrors are used to track the sun and focus concentrated solar energy onto solar collectors, which contain circulating molten salt. There are currently no facilities in the world capable of performing accelerated lifecycle testing of flow components in a high temperature molten nitrate salt environment. The system maintains nitrate salts in the molten state at various temperatures and pressures in order to pump the salt through parallel test sections containing components under test. The system also heats/cools the salt to desired conditions for each test and offers specialty controls and capabilities allowing researchers to collect data from the process.

The mechanical scope of work included both fabrication and installation of this unique loop system. Specifically, work included the order, delivery and hook-up of critical specialty equipment along with the fabrication of several unique components. In addition to the specialty HVAC equipment, JBH performed installation of unique plumbing modules to direct the highly specialized flow of salt throughout the system. The flow is directed by a configuration of stainless steel pipes, and pumps, maneuvering the liquids through various temperature changes to reach their desired state.

Project Awards:

  • ENR SW’s Best of 2012 Project in the Specialty Contracting Category
  • Associated General Contractors NM Building Branch Best Buildings 2013 in the Specialty Contracting Category
  • ACEC National Recognition Award and a Honor Award- Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers