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Title: Solar Reforming of Carbon Dioxide to Produce Diesel Fuel

Abstract

This project focused on the demonstration of an innovative technology, referred to as the Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer, which utilizes waste CO2 as a feedstock for the efficient and economical production of synthetic diesel fuel using solar thermal energy as the primary energy input. The Sunexus technology employs a two stage process for the conversion of CO2 to diesel fuel. A solar reforming system, including a specially designed reactor and proprietary CO2 reforming catalyst, was developed and used to convert captured CO2 rich gas streams into syngas (primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide) using concentrated solar energy at high conversion efficiencies. The second stage of the system (which has been demonstrated under other funding) involves the direct conversion of the syngas into synthetic diesel fuel using a proprietary catalyst (Terra) previously developed and validated by Pacific Renewable Fuels and Chemicals (PRFC). The overall system energy efficiency for conversion of CO2 to diesel fuel is 74%, due to the use of solar energy. The results herein describe modeling, design, construction, and testing of the Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer. Extensive parametric testing of the solar reformer and candidate catalysts was conducted and chemical kinetic models were developed. Laboratory testing of the Solar Reformermore » was successfully completed using various gas mixtures, temperatures, and gas flow rates/space velocities to establish performance metrics which can be employed for the design of commercial plants. A variety of laboratory tests were conducted including dry reforming (CO2 and CH{sub 4}), combination dry/steam reforming (CO2, CH{sub 4} & H{sub 2}O), and tri-reforming (CO2, CH{sub 4}, H{sub 2}O & O{sub 2}). CH{sub 4} and CO2 conversions averaged 95-100% and 50-90% per reformer cycle, respectively, depending upon the temperatures and gas space velocities. No formation of carbon deposits (coking) on the catalyst was observed in any of these tests. A 16 ft. diameter, concentrating solar dish was modified to accommodate the Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer and the integrated system was installed at the Pacific Renewable Fuels and Chemicals test site at McClellan, CA. Several test runs were conducted without catalyst during which the ceramic heat exchanger in the Sunexus Solar Reformer reached temperatures between 1,050 F (566 C) and 2,200 F (1,204 C) during the test period. A dry reforming mixture of CO2/CH{sub 4} (2.0/1.0 molar ratio) was chosen for all of the tests on the integrated solar dish/catalytic reformer during December 2010. Initial tests were carried out to determine heat transfer from the collimated solar beam to the catalytic reactor. The catalyst was operated successfully at a steady-state temperature of 1,125 F (607 C), which was sufficient to convert 35% of the 2/1 CO2/CH{sub 4} mixture to syngas. This conversion efficiency confirmed the results from laboratory testing of this catalyst which provided comparable syngas production efficiencies (40% at 1,200 F [650 C]) with a resulting syngas composition of 20% CO, 16% H{sub 2}, 39% CO2 and 25% CH{sub 4}. As based upon the laboratory results, it is predicted that 90% of the CO2 will be converted to syngas in the solar reformer at 1,440 F (782 C) resulting in a syngas composition of 50% CO: 43% H{sub 2}: 7% CO2: 0% CH{sub 4}. Laboratory tests show that the higher catalyst operating temperature of 1,440 F (782 C) for efficient conversion of CO2 can certainly be achieved by optimizing solar reactor heat transfer, which would result in the projected 90% CO2-to-syngas conversion efficiencies. Further testing will be carried out during 2011, through other funding support, to further optimize the solar dish CO2 reformer. Additional studies carried out in support of this project and described in this report include: (1) An Assessment of Potential Contaminants in Captured CO2 from Various Industrial Processes and Their Possible Effect on Sunexus CO2 Reforming Catalysts; (2) Recommended Measurement Methods for Assessing Contaminant Levels in Captured CO2 Streams; (3) An Assessment of Current Commercial Scale Fisher-Tropsch (F-T) Technologies for the Conversion of Syngas to Fuels; (4) An Overview of CO2 Capture Technologies from Various Industrial Sources; and (5) Lifecycle Analysis for the Capture and Conversion of CO2 to Synthetic Diesel Fuel. Commercial scale Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer plant designs, proposed in this report, should be able to utilize waste CO2 from a wide variety of industrial sources to produce a directly usable synthetic diesel fuel that replaces petroleum derived fuel, thus improving the United States energy security while also sequestering CO2. Our material balance model shows that every 5.0 lbs of CO2 is transformed using solar energy into 6.26 lbs (1.0 U.S. gallon) of diesel fuel and into by-products, which includes water. Details are provided in the mass and energy model in this report.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Renewable Energy Institute International
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1025142
DOE Contract Number:  
FE0002558
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; 10 SYNTHETIC FUELS; 14 SOLAR ENERGY; 33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; CARBON; CARBON DIOXIDE; CARBON MONOXIDE; DESIGN; DIESEL FUELS; ECONOMIC ANALYSIS; ENERGY EFFICIENCY; ENERGY MODELS; ETHANOL PLANTS; GAS FLOW; HEAT EXCHANGERS; HEAT TRANSFER; MATERIAL BALANCE; NATURAL GAS; POWER PLANTS; PRODUCTION; SANITARY LANDFILLS; SOLAR ENERGY; TESTING

Citation Formats

Dennis Schuetzle, and Robert Schuetzle. Solar Reforming of Carbon Dioxide to Produce Diesel Fuel. United States: N. p., 2010. Web. doi:10.2172/1025142.
Dennis Schuetzle, & Robert Schuetzle. Solar Reforming of Carbon Dioxide to Produce Diesel Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1025142.
Dennis Schuetzle, and Robert Schuetzle. Fri . "Solar Reforming of Carbon Dioxide to Produce Diesel Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1025142. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1025142.
@article{osti_1025142,
title = {Solar Reforming of Carbon Dioxide to Produce Diesel Fuel},
author = {Dennis Schuetzle and Robert Schuetzle},
abstractNote = {This project focused on the demonstration of an innovative technology, referred to as the Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer, which utilizes waste CO2 as a feedstock for the efficient and economical production of synthetic diesel fuel using solar thermal energy as the primary energy input. The Sunexus technology employs a two stage process for the conversion of CO2 to diesel fuel. A solar reforming system, including a specially designed reactor and proprietary CO2 reforming catalyst, was developed and used to convert captured CO2 rich gas streams into syngas (primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide) using concentrated solar energy at high conversion efficiencies. The second stage of the system (which has been demonstrated under other funding) involves the direct conversion of the syngas into synthetic diesel fuel using a proprietary catalyst (Terra) previously developed and validated by Pacific Renewable Fuels and Chemicals (PRFC). The overall system energy efficiency for conversion of CO2 to diesel fuel is 74%, due to the use of solar energy. The results herein describe modeling, design, construction, and testing of the Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer. Extensive parametric testing of the solar reformer and candidate catalysts was conducted and chemical kinetic models were developed. Laboratory testing of the Solar Reformer was successfully completed using various gas mixtures, temperatures, and gas flow rates/space velocities to establish performance metrics which can be employed for the design of commercial plants. A variety of laboratory tests were conducted including dry reforming (CO2 and CH{sub 4}), combination dry/steam reforming (CO2, CH{sub 4} & H{sub 2}O), and tri-reforming (CO2, CH{sub 4}, H{sub 2}O & O{sub 2}). CH{sub 4} and CO2 conversions averaged 95-100% and 50-90% per reformer cycle, respectively, depending upon the temperatures and gas space velocities. No formation of carbon deposits (coking) on the catalyst was observed in any of these tests. A 16 ft. diameter, concentrating solar dish was modified to accommodate the Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer and the integrated system was installed at the Pacific Renewable Fuels and Chemicals test site at McClellan, CA. Several test runs were conducted without catalyst during which the ceramic heat exchanger in the Sunexus Solar Reformer reached temperatures between 1,050 F (566 C) and 2,200 F (1,204 C) during the test period. A dry reforming mixture of CO2/CH{sub 4} (2.0/1.0 molar ratio) was chosen for all of the tests on the integrated solar dish/catalytic reformer during December 2010. Initial tests were carried out to determine heat transfer from the collimated solar beam to the catalytic reactor. The catalyst was operated successfully at a steady-state temperature of 1,125 F (607 C), which was sufficient to convert 35% of the 2/1 CO2/CH{sub 4} mixture to syngas. This conversion efficiency confirmed the results from laboratory testing of this catalyst which provided comparable syngas production efficiencies (40% at 1,200 F [650 C]) with a resulting syngas composition of 20% CO, 16% H{sub 2}, 39% CO2 and 25% CH{sub 4}. As based upon the laboratory results, it is predicted that 90% of the CO2 will be converted to syngas in the solar reformer at 1,440 F (782 C) resulting in a syngas composition of 50% CO: 43% H{sub 2}: 7% CO2: 0% CH{sub 4}. Laboratory tests show that the higher catalyst operating temperature of 1,440 F (782 C) for efficient conversion of CO2 can certainly be achieved by optimizing solar reactor heat transfer, which would result in the projected 90% CO2-to-syngas conversion efficiencies. Further testing will be carried out during 2011, through other funding support, to further optimize the solar dish CO2 reformer. Additional studies carried out in support of this project and described in this report include: (1) An Assessment of Potential Contaminants in Captured CO2 from Various Industrial Processes and Their Possible Effect on Sunexus CO2 Reforming Catalysts; (2) Recommended Measurement Methods for Assessing Contaminant Levels in Captured CO2 Streams; (3) An Assessment of Current Commercial Scale Fisher-Tropsch (F-T) Technologies for the Conversion of Syngas to Fuels; (4) An Overview of CO2 Capture Technologies from Various Industrial Sources; and (5) Lifecycle Analysis for the Capture and Conversion of CO2 to Synthetic Diesel Fuel. Commercial scale Sunexus CO2 Solar Reformer plant designs, proposed in this report, should be able to utilize waste CO2 from a wide variety of industrial sources to produce a directly usable synthetic diesel fuel that replaces petroleum derived fuel, thus improving the United States energy security while also sequestering CO2. Our material balance model shows that every 5.0 lbs of CO2 is transformed using solar energy into 6.26 lbs (1.0 U.S. gallon) of diesel fuel and into by-products, which includes water. Details are provided in the mass and energy model in this report.},
doi = {10.2172/1025142},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2010},
month = {12}
}