Direct Gain Consulting, LLC

Disruptive Hybrid Solar Collector and Particle Storage to Impact Dozens of Market Applications

Direct Gain Consulting (DGC), under contract with GTI Energy, is helping to locate leading partners and licensees to commercialize their unique solar thermal storage technology. This new technology was developed over the last decade through $10 million of grants from the USDOE ARPA-E program.  A solar thermal and storage system is a timely investment opportunity that can provide a sustainable and cost-effective solution for energy production. The system harnesses the sun’s energy (or other energy sources) to heat a particle fluid, which is then used to generate electricity or process heat. The system can store excess energy in a storage hopper, which can be used to generate electricity/heat during periods of low sunlight. The current system design provides 6 hours of storage but can be significantly expanded through hopper and piping insulation optimization.


The process technologies are protected by four US patents filed between 2015 and 2017 which deal with separate elements of the system and the combined system. GTI Energy is the assignee for all four patents and has the sole capability to license or re-assign. The system represents a major upgrade over typical solar thermal and thermal storage technologies to date:

  • The system can be utilized effectively at a much smaller scale than traditional utility-grade solar thermal systems with a unit system design targeted at a module size of about 2 MWth, making it viable for lower capital projects and applicable to either electricity or process heat generation. The modular design makes scaling for larger projects simple.
    • The system has been demonstrated to work efficiently at up to 685oC and based on results from the demonstration units, with some additional engineering of process flow valves can be expected to be able to achieve 1,000oC. These temperatures make the system very attractive as a fossil fuel replacement for many industrial heating processes.
    • The two-stage solar collector and concentrator demonstrates 70% efficiency with water, and between 40%-65% with the particle heat transfer system, dependent on operating temperature.


Cost Effective and Safe— Traditional thermal storage costs were estimated are $20/kWhr for molten salt, $53/kWhr for thermal oil.

The GTI Energy storage system was estimated to deliver thermal storage at $16/kWhrThe low-pressure particle-based heat transfer system enables higher temperature operation than expensive thermal fluids (400oC at 170 psi) or difficult-to-manage molten salt (565oC). No phase change is needed with the particle system. In addition, the particles are safe, inexpensive and show minimal degradation to particles or piping after 4,000 heating and cooling cycles, representing 11 years of system operation. The particles are non-flammable, non-toxic, and not susceptible to freezing. The air-driven particle transfer system uses mature dense phase transport and storage technology and existing industrial powder handling equipment. If interested, the storage system is available separately.

Developed in combination with the University of California at Merced and Particulate Solids Research, which included several test stands at Merced, GTI Energy indicates the process is ready for commercial application. Detailed test data, access to the development engineers, and detailed cost breakdowns with BOMs are available upon the execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This solar thermal and storage system is a promising investment opportunity that can provide a sustainable and cost-effective solution for energy or process heat production/management.

GTI Energy is a leading technology development organization. Our trusted team works to scale impactful solutions that shape energy transitions by leveraging gases, liquids, infrastructure, and efficiency. We embrace systems thinking, innovation, and collaboration to develop, scale, and deploy the technologies needed for low-carbon, low-cost energy systems.

Direct Gain Consulting ( is a technology commercialization firm that helps startups and Fortune 500 companies launch new clean-tech high-impact technologies to market. Interested Parties seeking a license agreement for all or part of the technology package, should contact Rick Lewandowski of DGC for more information; 1-914-466-8724;