Continuous Operation of Processes for Solar Fuel Production

National Action Range ÄéìåñÞò Å&Ô Óõíåñãáóßá ÅëëÜäáò-Ãåñìáíßáò 2013-2015
Financing Code for Project 2432
Project start year - end year 2013 - 2015
Financing organisation General Secretariat for Research and Technology
Coordinator Aerosol and Particle Technology Laboratory (APTL)
Other partners

German Aerospace Center / Institute of Solar Research (DLR)

Budget / APTL Budget / 250,000 €
Scientific Manager / Project researcher A. G. Konstandopoulos / S. Lorentzou
Project website  

The preservation of economic stability and growth creates the most significant motive for industries to pursue environmentally friendlier energy vectors, such as the employment of solar energy for synthetic fuel production.

A process with one of the highest short term potential in terms of technology and economics is the solar reforming of methane. With such an approach longer term carbon-neutral or carbon-free energy solutions for solar fuels production, can be given the required time to develop.

The heat for the steam methane reforming can be provided from the sun, by coupling the reformer with a concentrating solar plant. Solar energy is then converted into chemical energy (hydrogen or syngas) leading to solar upgraded fuels.

CONTISOL project aims to exploit the well-established process of methane reforming, in terms of materials and operation conditions, to advance it to a solar-thermochemical process.

The great challenge of implementing solar chemical processes is to match the intermittent availability of energy input and the requirement of the process to run at constant conditions. CONTISOL aims at developing a solution for compensating temporary fluctuations of the solar radiation and enabling a continuous operation of the process. A new monolithic honeycomb reactor design that combines the function of the reactor with that of a heat exchanger will be investigated. A heat transfer fluid will take up part of the heat from the reactor and transfer it to a suitable thermal storage system that would further provide a specific off-sun operation mode allowing continuation of the reforming reaction by extracting the required heat from the thermal storage during night-time.

The partners will also focus on the development of the necessary tools, derived and adapted from soft-ware developed previously for solar power generation, for the conceptual plant and heliostat field design for solar thermochemical processes