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Title: Solar High Temperature Water-Splitting Cycle with Quantum Boost

A sulfur family chemical cycle having ammonia as the working fluid and reagent was developed as a cost-effective and efficient hydrogen production technology based on a solar thermochemical water-splitting cycle. The sulfur ammonia (SA) cycle is a renewable and sustainable process that is unique in that it is an all-fluid cycle (i.e., with no solids handling). It uses a moderate temperature solar plant with the solar receiver operating at 800°C. All electricity needed is generated internally from recovered heat. The plant would operate continuously with low cost storage and it is a good potential solar thermochemical hydrogen production cycle for reaching the DOE cost goals. Two approaches were considered for the hydrogen production step of the SA cycle: (1) photocatalytic, and (2) electrolytic oxidation of ammonium sulfite to ammonium sulfate in aqueous solutions. Also, two sub-cycles were evaluated for the oxygen evolution side of the SA cycle: (1) zinc sulfate/zinc oxide, and (2) potassium sulfate/potassium pyrosulfate. The laboratory testing and optimization of all the process steps for each version of the SA cycle were proven in the laboratory or have been fully demonstrated by others, but further optimization is still possible and needed. The solar configuration evolved to a 50more » MW(thermal) central receiver system with a North heliostat field, a cavity receiver, and NaCl molten salt storage to allow continuous operation. The H2A economic model was used to optimize and trade-off SA cycle configurations. Parametric studies of chemical plant performance have indicated process efficiencies of ~20%. Although the current process efficiency is technically acceptable, an increased efficiency is needed if the DOE cost targets are to be reached. There are two interrelated areas in which there is the potential for significant efficiency improvements: electrolysis cell voltage and excessive water vaporization. Methods to significantly reduce water evaporation are proposed for future activities. Electrolysis membranes that permit higher temperatures and lower voltages are attainable. The oxygen half cycle will need further development and improvement.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. SAIC
  2. UCSD
  3. Electrosynthesis Co.
  4. TChemE
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Science Applications International Corp.
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Program (EE-2H)
Contributing Orgs:
Florida Solar Energy Center of the University of Central Florida Southern California Gas Company
Country of Publication:
United States
08 HYDROGEN Hydrogen Solar Water-splitting Thermochemical Photocatalytic Electrolytic Heliostats Quantum-boost Electrocatalysts Membranes Electrophoretic deposition Nanoparticles Molten-salt Storage