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Research Papers

Monte Carlo Heat Transfer Modeling of a Particle-Cloud Solar Reactor for SnO2 Thermal Reduction

[+] Author and Article Information
H. I. Villafán-Vidales

Processes,  Materials and Solar Energy Laboratory, PROMES-CNRS, 7 Rue du Four Solaire, Font-Romeu, 66120, Francehivv@cie.unam.mx

C. A. Arancibia-Bulnes

Centro de Investigación en Energía,  Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Privada Xochicalco s/n, Temixco, 62580, Méxicocaab@cie.unam.mx

S. Abanades

Processes,  Materials and Solar Energy Laboratory, PROMES-CNRS, 7 Rue du Four Solaire, Font-Romeu, 66120, Francestephane.abanades@promes.cnrs.fr

D. Riveros-Rosas

Instituto de Geofísica,  Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, México DF, 04510, Méxicodriveros@geofisica.unam.mx

H. Romero-Paredes

Departamento de Ingeniería de Procesos e Hidráulica,  Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Av. San Rafael Atlixco No.186, México D.F, 09340, Méxicohrp@xanum.uam.mx

J. Sol. Energy Eng 133(4), 041009 (Oct 13, 2011) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004550 History: Received May 13, 2011; Revised June 18, 2011; Published October 13, 2011; Online October 13, 2011

A directly irradiated cavity solar reactor devoted to the thermal reduction of SnO2 particle-cloud is studied numerically by using the Monte Carlo method. The steady-state model solves the radiation and convection heat transfers in the semitransparent particle suspension and the chemical reaction. It was used to predict the temperature distribution and the reaction extent inside the cavity, as well as the theoretical thermochemical efficiency for different operational conditions. The simulations assume that the reactor contains a nonuniform size suspension of radiatively participating reacting SnO2 particles. The model takes into account the radiative characteristics of the particles, as well as the directional characteristics of the power distribution of the incoming concentrated solar energy. The particle concentration, the particle size, and the length of the reactor are varied. Results show that the particle temperature and the yield of the endothermic reaction are higher when the reactor is fed with a cloud of particles with average diameter of 20 μm. The maximal thermochemical efficiency reached is 10%, which corresponds to an optimal optical thickness of around 2.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Simulated system geometry

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Figure 2

Real (nλ') and imaginary (nλ") parts of the complex refractive index of tin oxide, as a function of wavelength

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Figure 3

Specific spectral extinction, absorption, and scattering coefficients for a cloud of SnO2 particles of 1 μm mean radius

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Figure 4

Specific spectral extinction, absorption, and scattering coefficients for a cloud of SnO2 particles of 10 μm mean radius

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Figure 5

Perspective of facets of the solar furnace (left). Reflective points whose rays reached the aperture of the cavity reactor (right).

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Figure 6

Incident solar rays through reactor aperture (left). Irradiance distribution at reactor aperture (right).

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Figure 7

Temperature distribution for a 20 cm-long reactor with a cloud of large particles with mean radius of 10 μm (cloud 2) and an optical thickness of 2

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Figure 8

Temperature distribution for a 20 cm-long reactor with a cloud of small particles with mean radius of 1 μm (cloud 1) and an optical thickness of 2

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Figure 9

Average temperature for clouds of small and large particles (clouds 1 and 2), and for different reactor lengths, as a function of the optical thickness

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Figure 10

Reaction yield for clouds of small and large particles (clouds 1 and 2), and for different reactor lengths, as a function of optical thickness

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Figure 11

Theoretical thermochemical efficiency for clouds of small and large particles, for different reactor lengths, as a function of optical thickness

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Figure 12

Chemical conversion fraction as a function of the particle temperature (for cloud 2 and reactor length of 10 cm) and operating conditions that result in the maximal efficiency

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