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Research Papers

Carbon Dioxide Reforming of Methane in Directly Irradiated Solar Reactor With Porcupine Absorber

[+] Author and Article Information
Rachamim Rubin

Solar Energy Research Facility, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Jacob Karni

Environmental Science and Energy Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

J. Sol. Energy Eng 133(2), 021008 (Apr 07, 2011) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003678 History: Received July 11, 2010; Revised January 26, 2011; Published April 07, 2011; Online April 07, 2011

A new solar volumetric reactor for CO2 reforming of CH4 was tested at the Solar Tower of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The reactor design was based on extensive previous experimental work with a volumetric receiver for heating air and simulation of volumetric reformer. The main parts of the reactor were a conical quartz window and a Porcupine absorber as the surface where chemical and thermal energy conversion took place. A specially developed ruthenium catalyst was used. The CO2 to CH4 ratio was about 1:1.2, and the total inlet flow rate was between 100 slpm and 235 slpm (slpm denotes standard liter per minute). The maximum absorber temperature was kept below 1450 K. The conversion of CH4 reached 85%. The total power absorbed was between 10.3 kW and 18.2 kW, of which the thermal power part was 2.3–4.5 kW and the stored chemical enrichment was 7.5–13.7 kW. The results indicate that this type of volumetric reactor can be used effectively for CO2 reforming of CH4, and further work aimed at improving the total efficiency of the system is in progress.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

The experimental setup

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Figure 2

The Weizmann solar tower with light from the heliostats aimed at the seventh floor

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Figure 3

Schematic presentation of the reformer reactor

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Figure 4

Two absorber sections made of alumina base, one before inserting Porcupine tubes into it (bottom) and the other after inserting alumina tubes (ID=2 mm, OD=3 mm, and L=60 mm) coated with the catalyst (top)

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Figure 5

Temperature distribution at the different parts of the reactor

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