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Fluids 2017, 2(2), 25; doi:10.3390/fluids2020025

Hydrodynamics and Oxygen Bubble Characterization of Catalytic Cells Used in Artificial Photosynthesis by Means of CFD

1
Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Marcel·lí Domingo 2, 43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
2
Department of Applied Science and Technology (DISAT), Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 29, 10129 Torino, Italy
3
Chemical Engineering Department, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Av. Països Catalans 26, 43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mehrdad Massoudi and Helena Margarida Ramos
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 11 May 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hydrodynamics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6645 KB, uploaded 16 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

Miniaturized cells can be used in photo-electrochemistry to perform water splitting. The geometry, process variables and removal of oxygen bubbles in these cells need to be optimized. Bubbles tend to remain attached to the catalytic surface, thus blocking the reaction, and they therefore need to be dragged out of the cell. Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations have been carried out to assess the design of miniaturized cells and their results have been compared with experimental results. It has been found that low liquid inlet velocities (~0.1 m/s) favor the homogeneous distribution of the flow. Moderate velocities (0.5–1 m/s) favor preferred paths. High velocities (~2 m/s) lead to turbulent behavior of the flow, but avoid bubble coalescence and help to drag the bubbles. Gravity has a limited effect at this velocity. Finally, channeled cells have also been analyzed and they allow a good flow distribution, but part of the catalytic area could be lost. The here presented results can be used as guidelines for the optimum design of photocatalytic cells for the water splitting reaction for the production of solar fuels, such as H2 or other CO2 reduction products (i.e., CO, CH4, among others). View Full-Text
Keywords: CFD; artificial photosynthesis; hydrodynamics; bubble characterization; water splitting; photo-catalytic cell CFD; artificial photosynthesis; hydrodynamics; bubble characterization; water splitting; photo-catalytic cell
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Torras, C.; Lorente, E.; Hernández, S.; Russo, N.; Salvadó, J. Hydrodynamics and Oxygen Bubble Characterization of Catalytic Cells Used in Artificial Photosynthesis by Means of CFD. Fluids 2017, 2, 25.

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