Production of solar fuels

The solar energy reserve is essentially unlimited and its utilization is ecologically benign. However, solar radiation reaching the earth is diluted, intermittent, and inconveniently distributed. It needs to be concentrated, stored, and finally transported from the sunny and uninhabited regions of the earth's sunbelt to the world's industrialized and populated centres, where much of the energy is required. These tasks can be accomplished by converting concentrated solar energy into chemical energy carriers, i.e. Solar Fuels , that can be long-term stored and long-ranged transported. By concentrating the sunlight with help of parabolic mirrors, and by capturing the irradiated energy with help of solar receivers, we can obtain heat at high temperatures for carrying out the thermo chemical production of solar fuels (Fig. 1).

Solar energy conversion into solar fuels. Solar energy conversion into solar fuels: concentrated solar radiation is used as the energy source of high-temperature process heat for driving thermochemical reactions towards the production of storable and transportable fuels.

The current research projects being conducted within the framework of the Professorship in Renewable Energy Carriers are described. These projects are carried out jointly with the Solar Technology Laboratory of the Paul Scherrer Institute.