The environmental behavior of four steels was analyzed. In the operation phase of concentrating solar power plants, steels withstand high temperature because of its contact with molten salts. Hence, choosing the steel type for the molten salt tanks remains a great challenge. In the cold tank, carbon steel is usually used although an approach with low chromium content steel is being studied for these applications. Likewise, in high temperature applications, such as hot store tank, austenitic stainless steel is the most frequent choice. However, ferritic steel is being considered as a promising material in these applications. As many researchers studied the steel technical properties without considering their environmental damages, this work aimed to introduce the environmental aspects into the material choice by using the life cycle assessment technique. On one hand, the results showed the environmental adequacy of carbon steel against low chromium content steel. On the other hand, the results obtained in those steels suitable in high temperature application revealed significant environmental benefits from the ferritic steel instead of the austenitic steel.
austenitic steel; concentrating solar power; ferritic steel; life cycle assessment; molten salt; renewable energy