Solar Photo-Thermal Catalytic Reactions to Produce High Value Chemicals

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    This summarizes research about how solar photo-thermal energy can convert low cost chemical feedstocks to high dollar-value chemical products. Chemical market analysis and product price distribution focused on specialty chemicals with prices greater than $1.00/lb, and a synthesis sequence of n-paraffins to aromatics to partial oxidized products. It was demonstrated that enhanced reaction effectsresult from VIS-UV irradiation of catalytically active V 20s/Si02. Experiments involved dehydrogenation and dehydrocyclization of n-paraffins to olefins and aromatics, the latter was preferred. Results using n-hexane produced 95% conversion with 56% benzene; aromatic yield might reach~70% by further optimization. Pilot- and commercial-scale reactor configurations were examined; a shallowfluid-bed of catalyst with incident radiation from the top was favored. Daytime endothermic followed by nighttime exothermic reactions would be most cost-effective.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages33
    StatePublished - 1992

    Bibliographical note

    Work performed by University of Houston, Houston, Texas

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-253-4275


    • high value chemicals
    • hydrocarbon reforming reactions
    • photothermal catalytic reactions
    • synthesis products


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