Research Papers

Moving Brick Receiver–Reactor: A Solar Thermochemical Reactor and Process Design With a Solid–Solid Heat Exchanger and On-Demand Production of Hydrogen and/or Carbon Monoxide

[+] Author and Article Information
Silvan Siegrist

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Center (DLR),
Professor-Rehm-Strasse 1,
Juelich 52428, Germany
e-mail: Silvan.Siegrist@dlr.de

Henrik von Storch

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Center (DLR),
Professor-Rehm-Strasse 1,
Juelich 52428, Germany
e-mail: henrikstorch@rocketmail.com

Martin Roeb

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Center (DLR),
Linder Hoehe,
Koeln 51147, Germany
e-mail: Martin.Roeb@dlr.de

Christian Sattler

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Center (DLR),
Linder Hoehe,
Koeln 51147, Germany
e-mail: Christian.Sattler@dlr.de

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received September 7, 2018; final manuscript received November 18, 2018; published online January 8, 2019. Guest Editors: Tatsuya Kodama, Christian Sattler, Nathan Siegel, Ellen Stechel.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 141(2), 021009 (Jan 08, 2019) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1419; doi: 10.1115/1.4042069 History: Received September 07, 2018; Revised November 18, 2018

Three crucial aspects still to be overcome to achieve commercial competitiveness of the solar thermochemical production of hydrogen and carbon monoxide are recuperating the heat from the solid phase, achieving continuous or on-demand production beyond the hours of sunshine, and scaling to commercial plant sizes. To tackle all three aspects, we propose a moving brick receiver–reactor (MBR2) design with a solid–solid heat exchanger. The MBR2 consists of porous bricks that are reversibly mounted on a high temperature transport mechanism, a receiver–reactor where the bricks are reduced by passing through the concentrated solar radiation, a solid–solid heat exchanger under partial vacuum in which the reduced bricks transfer heat to the oxidized bricks, a first storage for the reduced bricks, an oxidation reactor, and a second storage for the oxidized bricks. The bricks may be made of any nonvolatile redox material suitable for a thermochemical two-step (TS) water splitting (WS) or carbon dioxide splitting (CDS) cycle. A first thermodynamic analysis shows that the MBR2 may be able to achieve solar-to-chemical conversion efficiencies of approximately 0.25. Additionally, we identify the desired operating conditions and show that the heat exchanger efficiency has to be higher than the fraction of recombination in order to increase the conversion efficiency.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Typical distribution of heat losses (data from Ref. [20])

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

The MBR2 reactor and process design with a solid–solid heat exchanger

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic representation of relevant variables used in the thermodynamic analysis

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Solar-to-chemical conversion efficiency ηstc for three levels of the heat exchanger efficiency ηHX. In each subfigure, five levels of the fraction of recombination frecomb = [0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8] are assumed. For all subfigures, the following parameters are kept constant: pred = 100 Pa, Tox = 1000 K, T0 = 300 K, ηpump = 0.14, ηel = 0.4, and ηrec = 0.9: (a) ηHX = 0, (b) ηHX = 0.4, and (c) ηHX = 0.8.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Solar-to-chemical conversion efficiency ηstc for three levels of the fraction of recombination frecomb. In each subfigure, five levels of the heat exchanger efficiency ηHX = [0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8] are assumed. For all subfigures, the following parameters are kept constant: pred = 100 Pa, Tox = 1000 K, T0 = 300 K, ηpump = 0.14, ηel = 0.4, and ηrec = 0.9: (a) frecomb = 0, (b) frecomb = 0.4, and (c) frecomb = 0.8.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Schematic drawing of the receiver–reactor and heat exchanger subsystems

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Reduction extent of ceria as a function of relative partial pressure of oxygen for different temperatures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Isocontour lines of the solar-to-chemical conversion efficiency ηstc as a function of ηHX and frecomb for three different combinations of Tred and pred. The gray dashed line marks the operating points where ηHX = frecomb holds: (a) pred = 100 Pa, Tred = 1800 K, (b) pred = 100 Pa, Tred = 1600 K, and (c) pred = 10 Pa, Tred = 1800 K.



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