Low-Pressure, Windowless Solar Thermochemical Reactor for Large-Scale Fuel Production

Technology #16603

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Researchers
James F. Klausner
Jörg Petrasch
Managed By
Lenny Terry
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending US-2017-0217771-A1

Magnetically Stabilized to Overcome Sintering of Solid Reactants, Increasing Efficiency of Reactor

This solar thermochemical reactor allows for large scale deployment by revolutionizing solar thermochemical fuel production and overcoming challenges within the industry. Producing fuel by converting solar energy into chemical energy via a reactor tackles the world’s expanding energy needs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and is a potentially viable option for the efficient, cost-effective, and industrial-scale production of solar fuels. Available reactors, still in the early stages of development, have to overcome three major challenges to allow for large scale deployment. High temperatures, fragile and susceptible windows, and sintering of internal surfaces challenge available reactors. University of Florida researchers have developed a solar thermochemical reactor that addresses these challenges by operating at low pressures, employing a dual cavity design to eliminate the need for structurally weak windows, and utilizing magnetic stabilization to overcome sintering. This reactor will transform fuel-related industries by facilitating the production of carbon neutral, clean, and domestic synthetic fuels on an industrial scale as well as other products such as fertilizer and light metals. This could allow extensive improvements in solar thermochemical conversion efficiency, leading to greater productivity at a smaller cost.

Application

Fuel production from solar heat utilizing thermochemical reactor

Advantages

  • Employs dual cavity design, eliminating the need for structurally weak windows that are extremely susceptible to staining and damage due to thermal stress
  • Increases efficiency of chemical reaction by increasing internal surface area using thermo-mechanical stabilized ferrite materials
  • Operates at low pressures, reducing the reaction temperature

Technology

This solar thermochemical reactor operates at pressures lower than atmospheric pressure, ultimately reducing the reaction temperature. By using a dual cavity design, the reactor eliminates the need for windows, which typically are structurally weak and extremely susceptible to staining and damage when undergoing thermal stress. University of Florida researchers also developed a reactor with magnetic stabilization, which overcomes sintering of the solid reactants.