You are on page 1of 18

Advancement of Solar Thermal

Technologies
Jane H. Davidson
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Minnesota

Renewable energy potential is many times the


world demand for energy
Renewables
6% Solar <1%

Challenges
Diffuse and intermittent
~1000 W/m2
Capture/convert/store/
transport
Initial cost
Rapid scale-up &
deployment

Geothermal
5%

Nuclear 8%
Petroleum
40%

NG
23%
Coal 23%

Biomass
47%
Wind 2%
Hydroelectric
45%

Source: Renewable Energy Trends 2004; Energy Information Administration, August 2005.
2
Note: Total U.S. Energy Supply is 100.278 QBtu; Energy Information Administration, August 2005.

SOLAR ENERGY OPTIONS


Utility Scale
Concentrating solar
thermal power
Solar fuels
Photovoltaics
Wind
Biomass

Distributed
Heating/cooling
Hot water
Photovoltaics
3

State of the Art: Distributed Low


Temperature Solar Technology
Use & Status

Conventional flat plate collector

Ventilation for space heating

Hot water, space conditioning,


agriculture, industrial process
heat, ventilation air
Temperatures < 100 C
Proven and reliable for hot water
Rated and certified by SRCC
Annual efficiency = 40%
Immediately deployable
1% market penetration for H2O

The Potential Benefits


for US Buildings
Industrial
37%

Residential
20%
Commercial
16%
Transportation
27%

Buildings
65% of total U.S. electricity consumption
36% of total U.S. primary energy use
30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions
Source: Energy Consumption US DOE Annual Energy Outlook

Distributed Low-temperature Solar


Thermal
Barriers
Initial Cost
Storage capacity for space conditioning
Building integration

Current Research Focus


A paradigm shift from copper and glass components to
mass manufacture with polymers
High strength, high thermal conductivity polymeric
materials for absorbers and heat exchangers
Glazing and heat exchange materials that resist
degradation due to UV radiation, water and oxygen,
and mechanical and thermal stresses
Fundamental research on particle-surface interaction
and precipitation/deposition process
Development and characterization of compact storage
media

50 m

CaCO3 on PP
Wang, Y., Davidson, J.H., and Francis,
L., J. of Solar Energy Engineering,
127, 1, 3-14, 2005.

Concentrated Solar Thermal

100 Suns
Line focus; limited to 750K

1000 Suns

10,000 Suns

2-axis tracking; 1000K

on-axis tracking; 2500K


7

State of the Art: Solar Thermal


Electricity

(Concentrating Solar Power)


Use & Status
Potentially lowest-cost utility scale
solar electricity for the Southwest
4.56 GW installed or planned in
US, Mexico, Europe, Middle East,
Asia and Africa
Annual Performance
11 MW-e/ 55 MW-th (Sevilla, Spain)

624 heliostats; each 120 m2


Tower height: 100 m
Rankine-cycle
Converstion = 21% peak and 16% avg.
Cost (incl. power block): 35 M

Solar to electric conversion 12 to


25%
Capacity factor 30 to 75%

Current Cost - 12 to 14 /kWh


2011 - 8 to 10 /kWh
2020 - 3.5 to 6 /kWh

Solar Thermal Electricity (Concentrating Solar Power)


Barriers and Research Needs
Materials

Selective surfaces for external receivers in towers and


dishes
Optical materials that are cheaper than glass but still
provide long life operation
Engineered surfaces that prevent dust deposition
High-temperature materials for tower and dish receivers
Thin film protection layers for reflectors

Thermal storage for CSP


Working fluids with greater operating temperature range
More efficient receivers
9

Evolving: Thermochemical
Production of Fuels
Use & Status

Concentrated
Solar Radiation

Prototype and laboratory scale

Material synthesis & processing


Hydrogen production
Gasification
Upgraded fossil fuels
Reformation
Recycle of hazardous wastes

Absorption
Heat
QH,TH
Reactants

Chemical
Reactor

Solar Fuels

Fuel
Cell

QL,TL

Converts solar radiation to chemical


potential
Provides long-term storage
Cost competitive if carbon emissions
are considered

The fact that sunlight reaching the earth


is essentially at a temperature of 5800 K
thus gives it obvious advantages as a
source of process heat for the production
of chemical fuels. It is up to us to
exercise our ingenuity to invent a
mechanism by which it can be done.
10

H2O-splitting

Concentrated
Solar Energy

Decarbonization

H2O

Solar
Thermolysis

Fossil Fuels
(NG, oil, coal)

Solar
Thermochemical
Cycle

Solar
Electricity
+
Electrolysis

Solar
Reforming

Solar
Gasification

Optional CO2/C
Sequestration

Solar Hydrogen

Graphics courtesy of Prof. Aldo Steinfeld, ETH-Zurich

Solar Thermolysis
H2O

Equilibrium Mole Fraction


p = 1 bar

300

250

0.9

200
[kJ/mol]

H2 + O2

0.8
0.7

0.6

150

0.5

100
50

0.4

TS

0.3
0.2

0
-50

H2O
H
O
H2
OH
O2

0.1
1000

2000

3000

Temperature [K]

4000

5000

0
2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

Temperature [K]

Direct thermolysis is not practical:


Requires extremely high temperatures for reasonable dissociation
A most critical problem is the need to separate H2 and O2 at high temperatures.

Two-Step Water Splitting Cycle


absorption Carnot
1

Carnot

0.8
20,000
0.6

1000
5,000

0.4

10,000

0.2
00

1000

2000

3000

Temperature [K]

4000

ZnO

SOLAR REACTOR
ZnO = Zn + O2
H = 557 kJ/mol

O2
Zn

TH > 2000 K

HYDROLYSER

H2O

Zn + H2O = ZnO + H2
H = -62 kJ/mol

recycle

ZnO

TL = 700 K

H2

Formation of zinc nanoparticles followed by


in-situ hydrolysis for hydrogen generation.

Benefits
1) High specific surface area augments the reaction kinetics, heat transfer, and mass
transfer
2) Large surface to volume ratio favors complete or nearly complete oxidation
3) Entrainment in a gas flow allows for continuous and controllable feeding of
reactants and removal of products
4) Proof of concept with 95% conversion
5) Next steps: to understand the kinetics of the combined formation and hydrolysis
reaction particularly the particle interactions that are concurrent with chemical
reaction

Solar Thermochemical Fuels


Barriers and Research Needs
Solar Step
Radiative transport coupled to reaction kinetics of
heterogeneous chemical systems
Radiative exchange with particle suspensions in a
variety of applications
High temperature materials and coatings

Hydrogen Production Step


Particle size resolved kinetics of hydrolysis of single
particles
Coupled Processes in particle/steam flow
15

Recommendations
1.

Support research on a variety of solar technologies

1.

For more mature technologies such as low


temperature solar thermal and concentrating solar
power focus on cost reduction strategies

1.

Invest in basic research on solar thermochemical


production of fuels
Decarbonization of fossil fuels and carbothermal
reduction processes
Thermochemical water splitting cycles with no carbon
emission
16

References

Low temperature distributed solar thermal

1.

Davidson, J.H., Mantell, S.C., and Jorgensen, G., Status of the Development of Polymeric Solar Water Heating
Systems, in Advances in Solar Energy, D.Y. Goswami, ed., American Solar Energy Society, Vol. 15, pp. 149-186,
2002.
Davidson, J.H., Mantell, S.C., and Francis, L.F., Thermal and Material Characterization of Immersed Heat
Exchangers for Solar Domestic Hot Water, in Advances in Solar Energy, D.Y. Goswami, ed., American Solar
Energy Society, Vol. 17, pp. 99-129, 2007.
Davidson, J. H., Low-Temperature Solar Thermal Systems: An Untapped Energy Resource in the United States,
ASME J. of Solar Energy Engineering, 127, 3, 305-306, 2005.
Wang, Y., Davidson, J.H., and Francis, L., Scaling in Polymer Tubes and Interpretation for Their Use in Solar
Water Heating Systems, ASME J. of Solar Energy Engineering, 127, 1, 3-14, 2005.

2.

3.
4.

Concentrating solar power

1.

Mancini, T., P. Heller, B. Butler, B. Osborn, S. Wolfgang, G. Vernon, R. Buck, R. Diver, C. Andraka and J., Moreno,
2003, Dish Stirling Systems: An Overview of Development and Status, J. Solar Energy Engineering, Vol. 125, pp,
135-151.
Pitz-Paal, P., J. Dersch, B. Milow, F. Tellez, A. Ferriere, U. Langnikel, A. Steinfeld, J. Karni, E. Zarza, and O. Popel,
2005, Development Steps for Concentrating Solar Power Technologies with Maximum Impact on Cost Reduction,
Proceedings of the 2005 International Solar Energy Conference, August 6-11, Orlando, FL.
Sargent &Lundy Consulting Group, 2003, Assessment of Parabolic Trough and Power Tower Solar Technology
Cost and Performance Forecasts, SL-5641, prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy and the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory, Chicago, IL.

2.

3.

17

References
Solar thermochemical processes
1.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

8.
9.

E.A. Fletcher, and R.L. Moen, 1977, Hydrogen and Oxygen from Water, Science, Vol. 197, pp. 1050-1056.
Nakamura, T., 1977, Hydrogen Production from Water Utilizing Solar Heat at High Temperatures, Solar Energy,
19(5), pp. 467-475.
Steinfeld, A., Kuhn, P., Reller, A., Palumbo, R., Murry, J., Tamaura, Y., 1998, Solar-processed metals as Clean
Energy Carriers and Water Splitters, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 23, pp. 767-774.
Fletcher, E.A. Solarthermal Processing: A review. J. of Solar Energy Engineering 2001; 123:63-74.
Perkins, C., Weimer, A. W., 2004, Likely Near-term Solar-thermal Water Splitting Technologies, Int. J. Hydrogen
Energy, 29, pp. 1587-1599.
Steinfeld, A., 2005, Solar Thermochemical Production of Hydrogena Review, Solar Energy, 78, pp.:603-615.
Weiss, R.J., Ly, H.C., Wegner, K., Pratsinis, S.E., and Steinfeld, A., 2005, H2 Production by Zn Hydrolysis in A
Hot-Wall Aerosol Reactor, AIChE J., 51, pp. 1966 -1970.
Wegner, A., K., Ly, H.C., Weiss, R.J., Pratsinis, S.E., and Steinfeld, A., 2006, In Situ Formation and Hydrolysis of
Zn Nanoparticles for H2 Production by the 2-Step ZnO/Zn Water-Splitting Thermochemical Cycle, Int. J.
Hydrogen Energy, 31 pp. 5561
Ernst, F.O., Tricoli, A., Pratsinis, S.E., and Steinfeld, A., 2006, Co-Synthesis of H2 and ZnO by In-Situ Zn Aerosol
Formation and Hydrolysis, AIChE J., 52(9), pp. 3297-3303.
Harvey, W.S., Davidson, J.H., and Fletcher, E.A., Thermolysis of Hydrogen Sulfide in the Range 1300 to 1600
K, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 37, 6, 2323-2332. 1998.

18