Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Mauritius, 11-13 July, 2011.
Solar thermal cracking of natural gas has great potential to
become an attractive alternative process for hydrogen and
carbon black production due to its zero emission footprint.
However, there are two major problems preventing this process
from commercialization: (1) carbon deposition causing reactor
clogging, (2) intrinsic losses in energy conversion efficiency as
a result of re-radiation losses and inherently transient nature of
the solar energy. The second problem in particular applies to all
types of solar reactors despite the reactants and products
because temperature has the most important impact on reactant
to product conversion efficiency. This paper provides a detailed
description of these two problems, and summarizes few
solutions addressing these challenges.