Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems represent a zero emission method for conversion of sunlight to electricity. CSP systems use an array of mirrors to concentrate sunlight on the surface of a heat exchanger and heat a working fluid. These heat exchanger surfaces must have high absorptivity and low emissivity in the solar spectrum. In addition, they must be capable of extended operation at temperatures in excess of 600°C. Initial development of solar selective coatings using the air plasma spray process will be discussed. Eight different coating materials were deposited onto 304L stainless steel substrates. Solar absorptance and emittance were measured from each coating in three conditions: as-deposited, after heat treatment at 600°C for six hours, and after polishing to a 1 µm finish. A figure of merit based upon solar power tower (SPT) operation was calculated from these data and compared to the industry standard solar selective coating for SPT receivers, Pyromark Series 2500 high temperature paint. This comparison shows that Ni-5Al, 80WC-20Co, and CeO plasma-sprayed coatings all have potential as solar selective surfaces for SPT receivers.

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