Free Solar Pro - Hydrogen and Thermochemical
Solar Chemical Technology
Reducing the need for Fossil Fuels by using Solar Power in more ways
Solar chemical processes use the sun's power to
create chemical changes. These
processes help to eliminate the dependency on other fuel or energy sources by
using the sun to create a storable and transportable fuel.
Solar chemical processes are varied, but can be classified into two categories: Thermochemical and photochemical.
Hydrogen production has been a big push since the
1970's. Besides electrolysis,
created by photovoltaic and photochemical processes, thermochemical has
been looked at as an option, too. The
most direct thing to do is to split water at high temperatures (between
2300-2600 degrees C) But, the efficiency rate of solar-to-hydrogen has only
been 1-2%. A better way to do this is
to use solar concentration to drive steam reformation of natural gas to be used
to split the water. This way they get a
better hydrogen yield.
Thermochemical reactions of decomposition and regeneration of the reactants is also presenting itself in this technology. There is a process known as the Solzinc process that is being studied. This process uses a solar furnace to heat up (to + 1200 degrees C) and decompose zinc oxide. This reaction produces pure zinc that can be mixed with water to produce hydrogen.
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