Research Papers

Design of a Solar Reactor to Split CO2 Via Isothermal Redox Cycling of Ceria

[+] Author and Article Information
Roman Bader, Rohini Bala Chandran, Luke J. Venstrom, Stephen J. Sedler, Peter T. Krenzke, Robert M. De Smith

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Aayan Banerjee

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Thomas R. Chase

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: trchase@umn.edu

Jane H. Davidson

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: jhd@umn.edu

Wojciech Lipiński

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: wojciech.lipinski@anu.edu.au

These assumptions are consistent with the experiments described in Section 3.2.

The higher heating value of CO is 283 kJ/mol.

1Present address: Research School of Engineering, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

2Present address: Mechanical Engineering Department, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383.

3Corresponding authors.

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 April 23, 2014; final manuscript received October 20, 2014; published online December 23, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Prof. Nathan Siegel.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 137(3), 031007 (Jun 01, 2015) (10 pages) Paper No: SOL-14-1122; doi: 10.1115/1.4028917 History: Received April 23, 2014; Revised October 20, 2014; Online December 23, 2014

The design procedure for a 3 kWth prototype solar thermochemical reactor to implement isothermal redox cycling of ceria for CO2 splitting is presented. The reactor uses beds of mm-sized porous ceria particles contained in the annulus of concentric alumina tube assemblies that line the cylindrical wall of a solar cavity receiver. The porous particle beds provide high surface area for the heterogeneous reactions, rapid heat and mass transfer, and low pressure drop. Redox cycling is accomplished by alternating flows of inert sweep gas and CO2 through the bed. The gas flow rates and cycle step durations are selected by scaling the results from small-scale experiments. Thermal and thermo-mechanical models of the reactor and reactive element tubes are developed to predict the steady-state temperature and stress distributions for nominal operating conditions. The simulation results indicate that the target temperature of 1773 K will be reached in the prototype reactor and that the Mohr–Coulomb static factor of safety is above two everywhere in the tubes, indicating that thermo-mechanical stresses in the tubes remain acceptably low.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Conceptual design of a solar reactor for isothermal redox cycling of ceria: (a) The reactor assembly consisting of the cavity, reactive elements, insulation and shell; and (b) an enlarged view of a single reactive element

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Comparison of pressure drop and heat transfer of the alternative ceria morphologies: (a) Pressure drop per unit length as a function of superficial mass flux and (b) overall thermal conductivity as a function of temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Steady-state temperature distributions (in K) on the cavity wall and the outside surfaces of the reactive elements for the case with CO2 flowing through the reactive elements, as viewed from (a) aperture and (b) back (units of length: m)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Steady-state temperature distributions (in K) in the reactive element, for the case of CO2 flowing through the reactive elements: (a) alumina tube walls and (b) gas phase

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Steady-state axial temperature distribution (in K) in the particle bed for CO2 flow through the reactive element (averaged radially and circumferentially)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Cross section of the outer reactive element tube showing the distribution of the Mohr–Coulomb static factor of safety along the tube



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