(315f) Solar Thermochemical Fuel Production in a Microreactor
Harvesting and utilizing solar energy offers a sustainable way to reduce the use of fossil fuels and meet the increasing demand of energy. High temperature thermochemical reactions using concentrated solar power are of great interest due to the stored energy density associated with chemical fuels. The aim of this project is to develop technology suitable for the direct utilization of solar thermal energy through chemical processes. Both high temperature (ca. 1400°C) thermochemical water/carbon dioxide splitting cycle and moderate temperature (600-700°C) dry reforming of methane are considered. The critical component of this project is mesoscale-based reactor for the purpose of solar fuel generation. The mesoscale-based reactor, which offers advantages such as fast heat and mass transfer as well as flexibility in capacity and in design, was designed, built and tested. The reactive materials (perovskites) for high-temperature thermochemical splitting and catalysts for dry reforming of methane were synthesized, characterized and tested in the reactor.