Technical Briefs

A Solar Thermal Electrolytic Reactor for Studying the Production of Metals From Their Oxides

[+] Author and Article Information
P. Krenzke, K. Krueger, N. Leonard, S. Duncan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso IN 46383

R. D. Palumbo1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso IN 46383robert.palumbo@valpo.edu

S. Möller

 Conzepte Technik Umwelt, AG, Winterthur, Switzerland


Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 132(3), 034501 (Jun 04, 2010) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001464 History: Received June 26, 2009; Revised December 14, 2009; Published June 04, 2010; Online June 04, 2010

A solar thermal electrolytic reactor was developed for studying at a 10 kW scale how a solar reactor’s electrolytic cell design and operating variables influence the performance of a solar process for producing metals from their oxides. Current versus voltage maps as well as current versus time for specified voltages were obtained for the electrolysis of ZnO and MgO within the temperature range of 1200–1500 K and various electrolytic cell configurations. An example of a map is presented. The data from maps and steady-state runs were used to illustrate how we quantify the influence of the cell’s operating temperature and current density on process performance. We also illustrate how one design variable, the cell’s electrolyte, influences process performance.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Schematic of the reactor and its subsystems

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2

Map of cell current versus cell potential: 5 mol % ZnO in cryolite at 1200 K



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