High-Temperature Thermal Storage for Light Metal Production

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Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Project Term:
02/06/2014 - 03/06/2017

Technology Description:

Research Triangle Institute (RTI) is developing a high-quality concentrating solar thermal energy transport and storage system for use in light metals manufacturing. A challenge with integrating renewable energy into light metals manufacturing has been the need for large quantities of very high temperature heat. RTI’s technology overcomes this challenge with a specialized heat transfer powder. This powder can be heated to temperatures of 1100 degrees Celsius with concentrating solar thermal energy, some 400 degrees Celsius higher than conventional solutions. Because the heat transfer fluid can also store thermal energy, metal manufacturing plants can continue to operate even when the sun is not shining. RTI will also develop advanced materials that will protect the system’s components from the accelerated degradation experienced at these high operating temperatures. This technology will enable constant, high-temperature operation of the light metals production process with reduced CO2 emissions.

Potential Impact:

If successful, RTI’s thermal storage system would enable cost-effective, efficient use of solar energy in domestic metals manufacturing processes.


Light-weighting vehicles to improve fuel efficiency could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fossil fuel resources used in the transportation industry.


Powering light metals production with concentrated solar thermal energy could significantly reduce the carbon footprint throughout the industry.


Employing renewable energy technologies to manufacture light metals could reduce costs, making light metals more accessible for transportation and other industries.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Christopher Atkinson
Project Contact:
Mr. Gary Howe
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


North Carolina State University

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