(3cw) Solar Thermochemistry for Sustainable Fuel and Food Production and for Industrial CO2 Capture and Sequestration | AIChE

(3cw) Solar Thermochemistry for Sustainable Fuel and Food Production and for Industrial CO2 Capture and Sequestration


Michalsky, R. - Presenter, Kansas State University
Pfromm, P. - Presenter, Kansas State University
Parman, B. - Presenter, Kansas State University
Amanor-Boadu, V. - Presenter, Kansas State University

Solar thermochemistry for sustainable fuel and food
production and for industrial CO2 capture and sequestration

Michalsky 1, 2, Peter H. Pfromm 2,
Bryon Parman 3, 4, Vincent Amanor-Boadu 4

associate in biorefining, 2
Department of Chemical Engineering,

trainee in biorefining, 4 Department of
Agricultural Economics,

State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA


thermochemistry has the potential to overcome the storage issue of solar energy
by capturing solar energy in form of chemical energy. The synthesis of ammonia
is targeted here since ammonia is essential for modern agriculture, recognizing
that by some estimates food production will have to increase perhaps 70% by
2050, and that additional ammonia may still be needed for bio-energy crops.
Ammonia is also being proposed by others for hydrogen storage and transport, or
as a direct fuel for modified diesel engines. The Haber-Bosch process is the state
of the art industrial process to produce ammonia. Spending 2% of the world's
energy budget as natural gas for ammonia, the process consumes more than one
pound of natural gas to produce one pound of ammonia, releasing around three
pounds of carbon dioxide.

The poster reports
on thermodynamic theory and experimental proof-of-concept of a solar
thermochemical cycle to produce ammonia from water and air at atmospheric
pressure. A solar concentrator was used. A detailed and sophisticated
economical analysis indicating profitability of the concept at full scale (over
1000 metric tons ammonia per day) was performed by an NSF IGERT Ph.D. student
team consisting of Mr. Michalsky and Mr. Bryon Parman and is also shown here.

The potential of
solar thermochemistry in carbon dioxide capture and sequestration is
demonstrated with two concepts for future work: using flue gas from coal-fired
power plants for low-cost production of polycrystalline silicon from silicon
dioxide, and secondly substituting coal with hydrogen obtained from solar water-splitting
to produce steel in a solar concentrator.

Ronald Michalsky has received an M.S. (Diplom-Ingenieur F.H.)
in bioprocess engineering from the Technical University Mittelhessen, Germany. His M.S. thesis work resulted in three peer-reviewed journal publications. Since
2008 he is a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering and currently an NSF IGERT
associate in biorefining at Kansas State University where he is pursuing the
fundamental thermodynamics and experimental proof of concept for solar
thermochemical production of ammonia from steam and air at ambient pressure. A
first publication on the Ph.D. work is in peer review at the time of this
writing. Mr. Michalsky has presented on his M.S. and Ph.D. work at national
conferences including the AIChE Annual Meetings. Mr. Michalsky is mentoring
undergraduate research in the Chemical Engineering curriculum and is mentoring
NSF REU students in the summer of 2011.