TASK II: Solar Chemistry Research

Operating Agent:

Philipp Furler, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

National Coordinators:

Robbie McNaughton, CSIRO, Australia
Zhifeng Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Gilles Flamant, CNRS-PROMES, France
Karl-Heinz Funken, DLR, Germany
Alberto Giaconia, ENEA, Italy
Yong-Heack Kang, KIER, Korea
Claudio Estrada, UNAM, Mexico
Jan van Ravenswaay, NWU, South Africa
Alfonso Vidal, CIEMAT, Spain
Philipp Furler, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Nathan Siegel, Bucknell University, USA

Published Task Reports

Full paper (pdf):Roadmap to Solar Fuels: Strategy for Industry Involvement and Market Penetration

Nature of Work & Objectives

The primary objective of Task II – Solar Chemistry R&D – is to develop and optimize solar-driven thermochemical processes and to demonstrate their technical and economic feasibility at an industrial scale:

Subtasks and Working Groups

Six subtasks reflect the future challenges and foster active participation of SolarPACES member countries:

Activity 1: Solar Fuels (SF)

1) Demonstrate—at pilot scale—the most advanced processes for the solar production of synthetic fuels (e.g., cracking or steam reforming of NG, gasification of carbonaceous materials, carbo-thermal reduction of metal oxides).
2) Demonstrate medium and high temperature steam electrolysis and multi-step thermo-chemical processes (e.g., sulfur-based cycles) for the solar production of hydrogen.
3) Scale up the solar reactor technology of promising two-step H2O/CO2-splitting processes (e.g., Zn/ZnO & ferrite cycles) for the production of hydrogen, syngas, and liquid fuels.

Activity 2: Solar Materials (SM)

Process chemical commodities using concentrated sunlight (e.g., aluminum, magnesium, silicon, zinc; lime and cement).

Activity 3: Thermo-chemical Storage (TS)

Develop novel thermochemical storage systems for parabolic troughs and central receivers.

Activity 4: Technology Innovation (TI)

1) Engineer innovative and cost-efficient high-temperature solar reactor materials and components.
2) Design advanced heat recovery systems.
3) Implement advanced concentrating optics for high solar flux intensities and high temperatures.

Activity 5: Research Infrastructure (RI)

Optimize dedicated concentrating solar research infrastructure for large-scale testing of high-temperature thermochemical processes.

Activity 6: Market Penetration (MP)

1) Enhance the industry involvement in solar fuels production and promote the market penetration of the most mature solar fuels technologies.
2) Interact with industry, government, and academia to develop country-specific “roadmaps to solar fuels” (Task II special activity).

Organization and Structure

The Task II Operating Agent, currently PSI, Switzerland, is responsible for organization, operation, and reporting. International solar chemical research, development and demonstration efforts are coordinated in cost, task and/or information-sharing activities by National Coordinators (NC), making use of an efficient network, for the rapid exchange of technical and scientific information. The Task II Annual Meeting provides a forum for presenting and discussing major technological achievements.

The Task II Program of Work provides an up-to-date description of the national and international projects. When appropriate, Task II conducts a status review on novel technologies for assessing their technical and economical feasibility. Task II is continuously striving to stimulate public awareness of the potential contribution of solar chemistry to clean, sustainable energy services.

Status of Technology

The Task II Chapter of the SolarPACES Annual Report provides a comprehensive overview of the many ways in which solar chemical technologies may be used for the delivery of clean, sustainable energy services. Special focus on the solar thermal production of fuels (hydrogen and syngas) and chemicals for the power, transportation and chemical sectors of the world energy economy.

In the following link, the most important achievements of Task II related projects are summarized with information about project participation, objectives, status, and most relevant publications.

SolarPACES Annual Report 2015 Task II: Solar Chemistry Research (pdf)