ECN publication
Photocatalytic reactor for chemical processes
Published by: Publication date:
ECN 1998
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-I--98-045 Other
Number of pages: Full text:
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The increased atmospheric CO2 concentration due to the burning of fossilfuels for power generation is one of the most alarming global environmental problems of today. The solution to the problem is the reduction of a further increasing greenhouse gases emission; in the case of CO2 decreasing the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from combustion processes in power plants by efficiency improvement or CO2 removal. One of a prospective technologies which can helps in CO2 emission reduction from combustion processes is an idea of conversion of CO2 and water into useful chemicals like hydrogen, methane or methanol using the sun energy in an photo(electro)chemical (PEC) reactor. Such concept was shown to be possible at the Green Centre of Hitachi Research Laboratories, Japan. However, the Hitachi reactor is very expensive and works efficiently only under ultraviolet irradiation. The task for ECN researchers is to develop a photo-electrochemical reactor which is cost effective, works under a visible light irradiation and is very flexible in production of a specific chemicals, i.e. methanol or hydrogen. A very preliminary economic evaluation of the cost of hydrogen or methanol production in such PEC reactor showed that the cost (o.46 DFl/Nm3 is still higher than the cost of H2 manufactured in conventional steam reforming of natural gas (0.17 DFl/Nm3 ) and comparable to the conventional water electrolysis (0.5 DFl/Nm3) . The key problem is the development of a very efficient photocatalyst working in day light conditions and therefore, the main effort on beginning of the project was focused on the development of a thin layer titania-based photocatalyst deposited on the surface of an electroconductive glass or metal by wash coating and CVD techniques. 21 refs.

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