Tools for Design and Scale-Up of Solar Thermochemical Reactors: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-13-00530

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


NREL will be collaborating with the Participant on a United States - Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USASEC) Project Number 1-USO034 "Tools for design and scale-up of solar thermochemical reactors." The grant funds for the Participant's 3.5 year project number 1-US034 commencing on 1 February 2013 have been awarded to the Participant by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and NREL will be collaborating with the Participant during the final 28 months of this project. This project seeks to provide basic knowledge required to design solar thermochemical reactors able to perform the required energy conversions. In several proposed and demonstrated reactors, concentrated sunlight directly irradiates small solid particles suspended in fluid, enabling very high heat transfer rates to the particles which are the sites of chemical reaction. The reactors, therefore, involve the complex and couple dynamics of turbulent, chemically reacting, particle-laden flows and their interaction with concentrating solar radiation. A strong understanding of these coupled interactions will be crucial important in predicting and optimizing the performance of prototype reactors, but this understanding does not yet exist, since they have never been studied in any fundamental way. The project has a assembled an internationally leading team from The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Adelaide in Australia and the NREL in the United States to address this key gap in available know-how. The project will use U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) supercomputers, among the most powerful available worldwide, with cutting-edge software tools to perform first-principles simulations of the relevant interactions. These studies will be combined with detailed laser-based measurements in Australia to provide the first comprehensive databases concerning the governing phenomena in directly irradiated solar-thermochemical reactors. The outcomes will be the basic scientific knowledge, engineering knowhow and modeling tools necessary to design new reactor concepts and then scale up from the laboratory bench to practical size systems.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-2C00-83353


  • direct numerical simulation (DNS)
  • particle laden flows
  • photochemical
  • radiation
  • solar thermochemical


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