A Simple, Indirectly-Irradiated, Windowless Reactor for Solar Thermochemical Water Splitting

International Congress on Energy (ICE)
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 5, 2013 - 1:45pm-2:15pm

Although concentrated solar energy has enormous potential for use as process heat to drive chemical reactions , the thermal efficiency of converting solar energy to chemical fuels must increase by an order of magnitude to become commercially viable.  At the University of Florida , a solar thermochemical reactor with potential for high efficiency has been designed and constructed for the purpose of thermochemical water splitting over iron oxide based materials.  A 42 kWe solar simulator was used to irradiate up to 10kW of thermal energy through a windowless aperture.  Preliminary testing has been carried out to cavity temperatures exceeding 1600°C.  Experimentally determined temperature distributions and solar-to-chemical energy conversion efficiencies will be presented.  Practical considerations including materials of construction , insulation and sealing strategies will also be discussed.

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