ChE Seminar: Solar Energy Conversion and Storage by Splitting H2O and CO2


9:15 am-10:15 am
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New Engineering Building
1064 Center Drive
Gainesville, FL


Jonathan Scheffe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
University of Florida

Title: Solar Energy Conversion and Storage by Splitting H2O and CO2

Abstract: Solar energy is a vast and energy rich resource, capable of providing clean, renewable, and sustainable energy to residential, commercial and transportation sectors. While commercial solar conversion technologies, such as photovoltaic modules, have seen a dramatic decrease in cost over the last several decades, they still need to be integrated with relatively expensive storage technologies because of sunlight’s intermittent nature. This talk describes the work we are doing in our laboratory to use solar thermal heat (i.e. brute force!) to split H2O and CO2 into H2 and CO, long-duration energy storage vectors that can be used directly to produce power, such as H2 in fuel cell electric vehicles, or as precursors to liquid fuels synthesis. In our lab we are focused on understanding the fundamental thermodynamic and kinetic limitations that govern this chemistry, discovery of new materials that can help promote the reactions more efficiently, and using this understanding to develop scalable solar reactors that we can test at the University of Florida’s High Flux Solar Simulator Laboratory.

Bio: Jonathan Scheffe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. Prof. Scheffe is Principal Investigator of the Renewable Energy Conversion Laboratory that is focused on research in the area of energy conversion and storage. Applications include the production of renewable fuels/electricity, H2 production and fuel reforming. He is the former chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Solar Energy Division and has co-authored more than 40 peer reviewed publications in the field of solar thermal energy conversion. Prof. Scheffe has received research funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Duke Energy, Synhelion SA, Florida Department of Transportation, and Qatar National Research Foundation.


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