Concentrating solar thermal (CST) systems are unique among renewable energy options for the ease of integration with thermal energy storage (TES). This enables dispatchable (or continuous) production of electricity, process heat, solar fuels, or other chemical products. The solar receiver in a CST system converts concentrated sunlight to transportable thermal energy. In solar power towers, the solar receiver’s physical limitations are often the constraining conditions for the system; they restrict maximum temperature, maximum solar concentration, or controllable chemical production. It is also a uniquely challenging component to prototype and test at sizes beyond the laboratory scale. Transitioning exceptional research innovations into viable components for an integrated system and ultimately leading to CST market adoption requires a multiscale vision for component de-risking and development. Technical requirements for holistic novel receiver development are reviewed based on learnings from the US Department of Energy’s (USDOE) SunShot Initiative, its active Third Generation of Concentrating Solar Power Systems (Gen3 CSP) program, and anticipation of requirements for future high value applications for CST. Context and learnings from the Gen3 CSP program are provided to exemplify successful receiver risk-reduction paradigms.
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