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Title: Integrated solar thermochemical reaction system for steam methane reforming

Solar-aided upgrade of the energy content of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, can provide a near-term transition path towards a future solar-fuel economy and reduce carbon dioxide emission from fossil fuel consumption. Both steam and dry reforming a methane-containing fuel stream have been studied with concentrated solar power as the energy input to drive the highly endothermic reactions but the concept has not been demonstrated at a commercial scale. Under a current project with the U.S. Department of Energy, PNNL is developing an integrated solar thermochemical reaction system that combines solar concentrators with micro- and meso-channel reactors and heat exchangers to accomplish more than 20% solar augment of methane higher heating value. The objective of our three-year project is to develop and prepare for commercialization such solar reforming system with a high enough efficiency to serve as the frontend of a conventional natural gas (or biogas) combined cycle power plant, producing power with a levelized cost of electricity less than 6¢/kWh, without subsidies, by the year 2020. In this paper, we present results from the first year of our project that demonstrated a solar-to-chemical energy conversion efficiency as high as 69% with a prototype reaction system.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Diver Solar LLC, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1876-6102; SL0100000
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy Procedia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 69; Journal ID: ISSN 1876-6102
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 03 NATURAL GAS; 20 FOSSIL-FUELED POWER PLANTS concentrated solar power; steam reforming; methane reforming; natural gas; microchannel reaction; process intensification