The improvement of solar thermochemical reactor performance is crucial in solar energy utilization technology. This study presents an integrated design method for solar thermochemical concentrator-reactor to enhance performance and safety guided by the ideal optimized solar radiation distribution. The ideal solar radiation distribution in the reactor is obtained by gradient optimization algorithm and the enhancement mechanism is analyzed. To achieve the ideal distribution, a two-stage composite parabolic concentrator is added to the solar thermochemical concentrator-reactor as secondary concentrator and designed by genetic algorithm. The results show that the optimized energy distribution with limited solar input can enhance the energy conversion, thus improving the performance of the solar reactor and reducing the reaction temperature level. The reason is that the ideal optimized solar radiation distribution significantly improves the uniformity of temperature, concentration and reaction field, while strengthening the match between them. Furthermore, the reactor satisfies the optimal reaction temperature window of 940–1100 K based on the minimum Gibbs free energy well under the optimized distribution. The secondary concentrator design achieves almost identical reactor performance under ideal solar radiation distribution and can still maintain 4–8% performance enhancement and 20–30% maximum temperature reduction under different operating conditions.
Tang, X., Zhang, K., Yang, W., & Dou, P. (2023). Integrated design of solar concentrator and thermochemical reactor guided by optimal solar radiation distribution. Energy, 263, 125828. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2022.125828
Published in the January issue of Energy