High Temperature Solar Thermochemical Processes for Renewable Energy Applications

Speaker :
Prof. James Klausner
MSU Foundation Professor and Mechanical Engineering Department Chair, Michigan State University
Date : 15 May 2019 (Wed)
Time : 3:00 pm
Venue : Room 2126D, HKUST (2/F., Lift #19)


High temperature solar thermochemical energy storage (STCES) has promise to provide a low cost and high temperature storage solution for solar thermal applications.  However, the current status of STCES is at an early stage of development and substantial research and development is required to realize practical implementation. The cost effective, solar thermochemical production of Syngas, using non-volatile metal oxide looping processes as a precursor for clean and carbon neutral synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, such as synthetic petroleum, is an overarching goal of a number of research groups worldwide. The high temperature solar thermochemical approach uses water and recycled CO2 as the sole feed-stock and concentrated solar radiation as the sole energy source. Thus, the solar fuel is completely renewable and carbon neutral. Highly reactive, high surface area metal oxide porous structures are used to enable CO2 and water splitting for the production of Syngas. Two critical issues that drive the reaction conversion efficiency are chemical kinetics and heat and mass transport within the solar reactor. This lecture will consider the interplay between chemical reaction kinetics and thermal transport within the solar thermal chemical reactor. A framework for modeling the very complex multimode thermal transport within reactive porous structures will be described. Some theoretical considerations will be presented that consider upper limit efficiencies that are possible for solar water and CO2 splitting. Practical considerations for fabricating, analyzing, and testing solar thermochemical reactors will be discussed.

Another approach is to use high temperature solar thermochemical energy storage (STCES) using reversible redox reactions for grid scale storage; this can be in the form of packed beds for thermochemical batteries or solid state fuel. The latest developments in highly reactive porous metal oxide materials will be presented. These include magnesium manganates for which a volumetric energy density greater than 2300 MJm-3 has been measured for Mn/Mg mole ratios of 1/1 for a temperature range of 1000-1500 ℃. These materials show excellent stability through many redox cycles and are excellent low cost candidate materials for grid scale thermochemical energy storage.



Dr. James Klausner is an MSU Foundation Professor and Mechanical Engineering Department Chair at Michigan State University (2016-present). He serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Thermal Fluid Engineers (2018-present) and the International Titanium Association Foundation (2016-present), and he formerly served as Chair of the ASME Heat Trasnfer Division (2011-2012). For three and a half years he served as a Program Director at the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Prior to that he held the Newton C. Ebaugh Professorship in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida (1989-2015). He received his Ph.D. degree in 1989 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has made substantial fundamental contributions to understanding the dynamics of vapor bubble incipience, growth, and detachment in boiling heat transfer systems. He has made many fundamental and applied research contributions in high temperature solar thermochemical storage, waste heat and solar driven desalination, and high heat flux phase-change heat transfer. Dr. Klausner has authored more than 150 refereed publications, and his theoretical work on bubble dynamics is included in the Handbook of Heat Transfer. He is the author of ten patents and four provisional patents. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering and the American Society of Thermal Fluid Engineers. He is a recipient of the ASME Heat Transfer Division 75th Anniversary Award.