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Energies 2017, 10(10), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10101605

Energy Efficiency and Scalability of Metallic Nanoparticle Production Using Arc/Spark Discharge

1
Thermal and Flow Engineering, Åbo Akademi University, 20500 Turku, Finland
2
Paroc Group Oy, 21600 Parainen, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract

The increased global demand for metallic nanoparticles for an ever growing number of applications has given rise to a need for larger scale and more efficient nanoparticle (NP) production processes. In this paper one such process is evaluated from the viewpoints of scalability and energy efficiency. Multiple setups of different scale of an arc/spark process were evaluated for energy efficiency and scalability using exergy analysis, heat loss evaluation and life cycle impact assessment, based on data collected from EU FP7 project partners. The energy efficiency of the process is quite low, with e.g., a specific electricity consumption (SEC) of producing ~80 nm copper NP of 180 kWh/kg while the thermodynamic minimum energy need is 0.03 kWh/kg. This is due to thermal energy use characteristics of the system. During scale-up of the process the SEC remained similar to that of smaller setups. Loss of NP mass in the tubing of larger setups gives a lower material yield. The variation in material yield has a significant impact on the life cycle impact for the produced NP in both the Human Health and Ecosystem Quality categories while the impact is smaller in the Global Warming and Resource Depletion categories. View Full-Text
Keywords: metal nanoparticles; products; LCA; energy use; exergy metal nanoparticles; products; LCA; energy use; exergy
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Slotte, M.; Zevenhoven, R. Energy Efficiency and Scalability of Metallic Nanoparticle Production Using Arc/Spark Discharge. Energies 2017, 10, 1605.

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