Analysis of Planar-Cavity Receiver Reactor for Solar Thermochemical Dry-Reforming: Preprint

Jeffrey Gifford, Zhiwen Ma, Patrick Davenport, Janna Martinek, Craig Turchi, Jeffrey Weissman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Concentrating solar thermal (CST) systems can be leveraged to not only provide heat for power generation, but also energy storage and thermochemical fuel production. Such solar thermochemical processes have been studied conceptually, from solar thermochemical hydrogen production (STCH) and thermochemical energy storage (TCES), to gasification, reforming, and fuel upgrading by various means. The solar receiver and reactor are critical components in the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy in the form of 'solar fuels.' For effective conversion of solar energy within a coupled solar receiver-reactor, extremely high temperatures are required, thereby demanding a high solar concentration ratio (CR) for efficient operation. This creates a design challenge for the reactor-receiver, as many thermochemical processes involve gas or gas-solid systems that are limited by low heat transfer coefficients. A unique receiver design is proposed that has the potential to incorporate various high-temperature thermochemical processes such as, TCES-assisted power generation, methane reforming, or STCH processes. Modeling this receiver, and its potential applications, requires a full three-dimensional model that accurately captures the interconnected effects of receiver geometry, spatial solar irradiance, complex radiation, reaction kinetics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer. In this paper we analyze a CST system integrated with this unique planar-cavity reactor-receiver design using the developed model. The model presented in this paper showed where improved thermal management was needed to achieve suitable receiver performance when a dry-methane reforming process is implemented
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2019
EventASME 2019 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition - Salt Lake City, Utah
Duration: 11 Nov 201914 Nov 2019


ConferenceASME 2019 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
CitySalt Lake City, Utah

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5500-76138 for paper as published in ASME proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-73726


  • concentrated solar power
  • methane reforming
  • solar fuels
  • solar hydrogen
  • solar reactor
  • solar receiver
  • syngas
  • thermochemical


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