Thermal energy storage systems work in conjunction with solar technologies with the aim of increasing their dispatchability and competitiveness in the energy market. Among others, latent heat thermal energy storage systems have become an appealing research subject and many efforts have therefore been invested in selecting the best phase change material (PCM) to fit the final application. In this study, an extended corrosion characterization was performed for two PCM candidates, solar salt (40 wt.% KNO₃/60 wt.% NaNO₃) and myo-inositol (C₆H12O₆), to be applied in Fresnel solar plants. Corrosion rates were determined in aluminium, stainless steel (AISI 304), carbon steel (AISI 1090), and copper by gravimetric tests, gauging the weight loss after 2000 h of immersion at 250 °C. The corrosion products were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). The corrosion tests carried out with myo-inositol did not show accurate enough results to draw conclusions regarding corrosion on the metals. However, it was observed that this sugar alcohol strongly sticks to the metal specimens, making myo-inositol extremely difficult to manage as an energy storage material. Therefore, the present paper discourages the use of myo-inositol as a PCM beyond its corrosion rate.
Keywords: Fresnel solar plant; corrosion; myo-inositol sugar alcohol; phase change material.