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Open AccessArticle

A Two-Dimensional Multiphysics Coupling Model of a Middle and Low Temperature Solar Receiver/Reactor for Methanol Decomposition

1
School of Energy, Power and Mechanical Engineering, North China Electric Power University, Changping District, Beijing 102206, China
2
Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
3
State Grid Information & Telecommunication Branch, Beijing 100761, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2017, 10(11), 1705; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111705
Received: 16 September 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
Abstract: In this paper, the endothermic methanol decomposition reaction is used to obtain syngas by transforming middle and low temperature solar energy into chemical energy. A two-dimensional multiphysics coupling model of a middle and low temperature of 150~300 °C solar receiver/reactor was developed, which couples momentum equation in porous catalyst bed, the governing mass conservation with chemical reaction, and energy conservation incorporating conduction/convection/radiation heat transfer. The complex thermochemical conversion process of the middle and low temperature solar receiver/reactor (MLTSRR) system was analyzed. The numerical finite element method (FEM) model was validated by comparing it with the experimental data and a good agreement was obtained, revealing that the numerical FEM model is reliable. The characteristics of chemical reaction, coupled heat transfer, the components of reaction products, and the temperature fields in the receiver/reactor were also revealed and discussed. The effects of the annulus vacuum space and the glass tube on the performance of the solar receiver/reactor were further studied. It was revealed that when the direct normal irradiation increases from 200 W/m2 to 800 W/m2, the theoretical efficiency of solar energy transformed into chemical energy can reach 0.14–0.75. When the methanol feeding rate is 13 kg/h, the solar flux increases from 500 W/m2 to 1000 W/m2, methanol conversion can fall by 6.8–8.9% with air in the annulus, and methanol conversion can decrease by 21.8–28.9% when the glass is removed from the receiver/reactor. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar receiver/reactor; methanol decomposition; middle and low temperature thermochemical processes solar receiver/reactor; methanol decomposition; middle and low temperature thermochemical processes
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Wang, Y.; Liu, Q.; Lei, J.; Li, J.; Chen, C. A Two-Dimensional Multiphysics Coupling Model of a Middle and Low Temperature Solar Receiver/Reactor for Methanol Decomposition. Energies 2017, 10, 1705.

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