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Research Papers

Thermodynamic Analyses of Fuel Production Via Solar-Driven Ceria-Based Nonstoichiometric Redox Cycling: A Case Study of the Isothermal Membrane Reactor System

[+] Author and Article Information
Sha Li, Peter B. Kreider, Vincent M. Wheeler

Research School of Engineering,
The Australian National University,
Canberra 2601, ACT, Australia

Wojciech Lipiński

Research School of Engineering,
The Australian National University,
Canberra 2601, ACT, Australia
e-mail: wojciech.lipinski@anu.edu.au

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), 021012 (Jan 08, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1424; doi: 10.1115/1.4042228 History: Received September 07, 2018; Revised November 18, 2018

A thermodynamic model of an isothermal ceria-based membrane reactor system is developed for fuel production via solar-driven simultaneous reduction and oxidation reactions. Inert sweep gas is applied on the reduction side of the membrane. The model is based on conservation of mass, species, and energy along with the Gibbs criterion. The maximum thermodynamic solar-to-fuel efficiencies are determined by simultaneous multivariable optimization of operational parameters. The effects of gas heat recovery and reactor flow configurations are investigated. The results show that maximum efficiencies of 1.3% (3.2%) and 0.73% (2.0%) are attainable for water splitting (carbon dioxide splitting) under counter- and parallel-flow configurations, respectively, at an operating temperature of 1900 K and 95% gas heat recovery effectiveness. In addition, insights on potential efficiency improvement for the membrane reactor system are further suggested. The efficiencies reported are found to be much lower than those reported in literature. We demonstrate that the thermodynamic models reported elsewhere can violate the Gibbs criterion and, as a result, lead to unrealistically high efficiencies. The present work offers enhanced understanding of the counter-flow membrane reactor and provides more accurate upper efficiency limits for membrane reactor systems.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of mass and energy flow of an isothermal membrane reactor system under the CF configuration for water splitting. Mass flow is indicated by thin arrows and energy flow by thick, gray arrows. An energy flow line pointing to or from a mass flow line indicates a heat addition or removal step, respectively.

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Fig. 2

Schematic of flow configurations as well as mass and species conservation for an isothermal membrane reactor under (a) CF configuration and (b) PF configuration

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Fig. 4

Maximum solar-to-fuel efficiencies for water splitting of the membrane reactor system under CF and PF configurations with different gas heat recovery conditions

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Fig. 3

A graphical representation to determine the optimal conversion ratio of an isothermal membrane reactor for water splitting given a prescribed set of inlet conditions, as detailed below. The operating conditions and values for this figure are not unique; however, they are chosen to ensure that the key features and distinction among all models under consideration are well reflected and easy to visualize. (a) The present CF model of the isothermal membrane reactor at Tiso = 1773 K with inlet conditions of pin*=10−6, and n˙N2/n˙H2O=40; and (b) comparison of CF and PF models of the isothermal membrane reactor at Tiso = 1773 K with inlet conditions of pin*=10−6, and n˙N2/n˙H2O=25.5 for all models under consideration. The subscript “prior” refers to the work by Tou et al. [22] and Zhu et al. [27], and the subscript “present” refers to this work.

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Fig. 7

Effect of oxygen partial pressure entering the reduction side on solar-to-fuel efficiency and energy constituents at Tiso = 1900 K, εg = 0.95 with n˙N2/n˙H2O=0.77

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Fig. 5

Comparison of optimized efficiencies for carbon dioxide splitting with Tou et al. [22] (Fig. S6(c)) at εg = 0.95, pO2,red,in=10−6 atm for an isothermal membrane reactor system operated under CF configuration. Legend text “reproduced” is in reference to the effort to reproduce the work by Tou et al. [22], and “revised” refers to using the revised CF model to revisit, modify, and optimize the work by Tou et al. [22]. The displayed values showcase the highest predicted solar-to-fuel efficiencies using the respective CF models.

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Fig. 8

Effect of sweep gas to oxidizer flow rate ratio on solar-to-fuel efficiency and energy constituents at Tiso = 1900 K, εg = 0.95 with pO2,red,in=1×10−6 atm

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Fig. 6

Maximum solar-to-fuel efficiencies for water splitting under CF configuration along with the corresponding normalized energy requirements at varying operating temperatures with (a) εg = 0.75 and (b) εg = 0.95

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Fig. 9

A graphical representation for the determination of the optimal conversion ratio of an isothermal membrane reactor for carbon dioxide splitting given a prescribed set of inlet conditions, as detailed below. The operating conditions and values for this figure are not unique; however, they are chosen to ensure that the key features and distinction among all models under consideration are well reflected and easy to visualize. (a) The present CF model for the isothermal membrane reactor at Tiso = 1773 K with inlet conditions of pin*=10−6, and n˙N2/n˙CO2=40; and (b) comparison of CF and PF models of the isothermal membrane reactor at Tiso = 1773 K with inlet conditions of pin*=10−6, and n˙N2/n˙CO2=36.0 for all models under consideration. The subscript “prior” refers to the work by Tou et al. [22] and Zhu et al. [27], and the subscript “present” refers to this work.

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Fig. 10

Maximum solar-to-fuel efficiencies for carbon dioxide splitting of the membrane reactor system under CF and PF configurations with different gas heat recovery conditions

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