Performance Evaluation of Absorber Reactors for Solar Fuel Production

  • Haftom Weldekidan
  • Vladimir Strezov
  • Graham Town


Waste to energy conversion through thermochemical processing offers a potential option for valorisation of waste biomass, however, it requires external heat supply to process the waste. Solar energy is a promising solution to convert the waste and produce alternative fuels that can replace coal, oil and natural gas for heat and electricity generation. To realize this, the radiation from the sun should be converted to thermal energy. Among the solar concentrators, parabolic dish gives the highest concentration ratio per area in converting the solar energy to heat and electricity. The absorber is the main part of the dish which is placed at the focal point and converts the radiation to thermal energy. In this work, experiments were conducted on stainless steel, copper, ceramic and glass reactors as absorber materials of parabolic dish with aperture diameter 1.8 m coated with aluminium pet as reflective material. The objective of this research was to evaluate solar radiation-absorbing performance of the reactors and design efficient reactor for solar fuel production. Two sets of experiments were conducted. First, each of the reactors was placed at the focal point then the heating rate and maximum temperatures inside the reactors were recorded as a function of radiation intensity using K-type thermocouples. Secondly, each reactor was coated using carbon soot and then the experiment was repeated. Results showed that the coated glass reactor has the best performance in all the absorbers. Of the uncoated reactors, the stainless steel gave best results with stable and uniform temperature distribution inside the reactor. The results can be used as benchmarks for future design and application of the solar thermal technology.
How to Cite
Weldekidan H., Strezov V., Town G., 2017, Performance Evaluation of Absorber Reactors for Solar Fuel Production , Chemical Engineering Transactions, 61, 1111-1116.