A High Temperature Tubular Solar Receiver for Production of Hydrogen and Carbon Nanoparticles from Methane Cracking


This study addresses the solar thermal decomposition of natural gas for the co-production of Hydrogen and Carbon Black as a high-value nano-material with the bonus of zero CO2 emission. The work focused on the development of a medium-scale solar reactor (10 kW) based on the indirect heating concept. The solar reactor is composed of a cubic cavity receiver (20 cm side), which absorbs concentrated solar irradiation through a quartz window by a 9 cm-diameter aperture. The reacting gas flows inside four graphite tubular reaction zones that are settled vertically inside the cavity. Experimental results in the temperature range 1670K – 2070K are presented: nearly complete methane dissociation into hydrogen and carbon black has been achieved; acetylene was the most important by-product with a mole fraction up to about 7%, depending on the space time. C2H2 content in the off-gas affects drastically the carbon yield of the process. The effect of the temperature, the space time and the methane mole fraction in the feed gas are analysed. In addition to the experimental section, numerical simulations were carried out. They show an homogeneous temperature distribution inside the cavity receiver of the reactor and permit to draw up a thermal balance.

  • Abstract
  • Nomenclature
  • Introduction
  • Experimental Section
  • Numerical Simulations
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

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