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Issue 5, 2017
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Solar thermochemical splitting of CO2 into separate streams of CO and O2 with high selectivity, stability, conversion, and efficiency

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Abstract

Developing solar technologies for converting CO2 into fuels has become a great energy challenge, as it closes the anthropogenic carbon cycle and leads to the production of sustainable transportation fuels on a global scale. However, the low mass conversion, poor selectivity, and/or low energy efficiency of current approaches have hindered their industrial implementation. Here, we experimentally demonstrate the solar-driven thermochemical splitting of CO2 into separate streams of CO and O2 with 100% selectivity, 83% molar conversion, and 5.25% solar-to-fuel energy efficiency. This benchmark performance was accomplished using a 4 kW solar reactor featuring a reticulated porous structure, made of ceria, directly exposed to 3000× flux irradiation and undergoing redox cycling via temperature/pressure-swing operation. The dual-scale interconnected porosity (mm and μm-sized pores) of the ceria structure provided volumetric radiative absorption and enhanced heat/mass transport for rapid redox kinetics, while 500 consecutive redox cycles further validated material stability and structure robustness. A detailed energy balance elucidates viable paths for achieving higher efficiencies and for large-scale industrial implementation using an array of modular solar reactors integrated into the established solar concentrating infrastructure.

Graphical abstract: Solar thermochemical splitting of CO2 into separate streams of CO and O2 with high selectivity, stability, conversion, and efficiency

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Dec 2016, accepted on 21 Feb 2017 and first published on 21 Feb 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6EE03776C
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2017,10, 1142-1149
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Solar thermochemical splitting of CO2 into separate streams of CO and O2 with high selectivity, stability, conversion, and efficiency

    D. Marxer, P. Furler, M. Takacs and A. Steinfeld, Energy Environ. Sci., 2017, 10, 1142
    DOI: 10.1039/C6EE03776C

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      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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