A new solar fuels reactor using a liquid metal heat transfer fluid: modeling and sensitivity analysis
C. Yuan, C. Jarrett, W. Chueh, Y. Kawajiri, A. Henry, A new solar fuels reactor using a liquid metal heat transfer fluid: modeling and sensitivity analysis, Journal of Thermal Engineering, In Press, (2015).
A numerical model is developed to analyze a new solar thermochemical reactor using liquid metal as a heat transfer fluid. Reaction kinetics for both reduction and oxidation in two-step redox cycles using a metal oxide are modeled by fitting to experimental data. The transient model includes the heat and mass transfer and reaction kinetics for an analysis of the efficiency and to elucidate limiting factors. The reactor can achieve an efficiency of 20% for the conversion of thermal to chemical energy for our base design. For this design, the removal of oxygen during the reduction step was determined to be the bottleneck to achieve a higher efficiency. In a sensitivity analysis, the optimal reaction temperature can be found considering the trade-off between fast reaction kinetics and materials compatibility.