Thermodynamic analysis of isothermal redox cycling of ceria for solar fuel production

Roman Bader, Luke J. Venstrom, Jane H. Davidson, Wojciech Lipiński

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191 Scopus citations


A thermodynamic analysis of continuous fuel production by redox cycling of ceria in a single solar reactor under isothermal conditions is presented. Ceria is partially reduced in a sweep gas flow of purified nitrogen and reoxidized with either steam or carbon dioxide to produce hydrogen or carbon monoxide, respectively. The sweep gas and oxidizer flows are preheated by the product gases. The influence of selected process parameters, including operating temperature, pressure, and the effectiveness of heat recovery, on the solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency is determined. For a solar concentration ratio of 3000, typical of state-of-the-art solar dish concentrators, and operating temperature of 1773 K, 95.5% of the available gas-phase heat must be recovered to reach conversion efficiencies of 10% and 18% for hydrogen and carbon monoxide production, respectively, assuming the flow rate of inert sweep gas is equivalent to that in a counter-current flow arrangement of gas and ceria. The efficiency depends strongly on the gas-phase heat recovery effectiveness and the sweep gas flow rate. Introducing a temperature swing of 150 K between reduction and oxidation steps strongly reduces the sweep gas flow rate and increases the efficiency from 10% to 31.6% for hydrogen production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5533-5544
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 19 2013


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