Solar Expanding-Vortex Particle Receiver-Reactor (SEVR)

Patented reactor to increase conversion efficiency

At CET, we’re working to make solar technology as efficient as possible and we look at all aspects of a system to make sure we’re getting the best out of them. When it comes to concentrated solar thermal (CST) systems, tubular receivers are commonly used but directly-irradiated particle receivers have the potential to attain higher efficiency and higher temperatures. Of all the particle receivers-reactors proposed to date, the solar expanding vortex reactor (SEVR) has been found to be one of the most promising.

Our SEVR addresses the key challenges associated with SVR systems:

  • uneven particle heating and energy destruction
  • particles depositing on the receiver-reactor window.


  • About the SEVR

    CET’s solar expanding-vortex particle receiver-reactor:

    • reduces particle deposition rate by more than 10 times compared to previous designs
    • generates a well-established vortex flow pattern within the cavity
    • reduces swirl intensity at the aperture plane by up to 10 times
    • preferentially recirculates larger particles within the chamber relative to smaller particles
    • can achieve prolonged particle residence times when compares to state-of-the-art SEVR technology
    • has a large calculated thermal efficiency (> 85%: defined as the ratio of useful heat absorbed and the power input), depending on the particle size.
  • People

  • Applications

    SEVR technology can be used in solar gasification of biomass, mineral processing (e.g. alumina and/or magnesia production) and thermal storage.
  • What's happening now?

    We continue to increase SEVR’s efficiency and are focused on five main areas:

    • flow-field and particle trajectories
    • heat transfer models
    • sealing gas systems
    • concentrated solar radiation tests
    • techno-economic feasibility studies.
  • Facilities

    • 100 kW cold flow SEVR model (air):
      • measures velocity profiles (gas-phase) using Cobra probe
      • measures particle deposition rate
    • 5 kW cold flow SEVR model (water tank) – I generation:
      • measures velocity profiles (gas-phase) employing particle image velocimetry
      • characterises fluid-dynamic instabilities (e.g. precessing vortex core)
    • 5 kW cold flow SEVR model (water tank) - II generation (under construction):
      • the second (II) generation is based on a more flexible design compared to the I generation, and key geometrical features such as aperture size can be varied
    • 5 kW cold flow SEVR model (air) - (under development):
      • measure gas and particle residence times
      • sealing gas system: measurements of performance and optimisation
    • 5 kW hot flow SEVR model (under development):
      • measures the thermal performance of the device employing reacting and non-reacting particles
      • particle testing under concentrated solar radiation.