Water-splitting solar thermochemical cycles are important in meeting the challenges of global climate change and limited fossil fuels. However, solar radiation varies in availability, leading to unsteady state operation. We propose a solar receiver-reactor with integrated energy collection and storage. The reactor consists of a double-pipe heat exchanger placed at the focal line of a parabolic trough solar concentrator. Molten salt passes through the jacket, absorbing energy from the irradiated outer surface while driving the endothermic oxygen production step of the copper-chlorine water-splitting cycle in the reactor bore. Excess energy is stored in a thermal storage tank to buffer the reactor from changes in insolation. Dynamic simulation indicates that the reactor can sustain steady 100% conversion during 24/7 operation with a reasonable plant layout. The technology employed is extant and mature. This is important in view of the urgency to reduce dependency upon fossil fuels as primary energy sources.
- Dynamic reactor model
- Hydrogen production
- Molten salt
- Solar receiver-reactor
- Water-splitting thermochemical cycle