SEMINAR: High-Temperature Solar Thermochemical Processes for Sustainable Fuel Production


12:30 pm-2:00 pm
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MAE-A Room 303
939 Sweetwater Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


High-Temperature Solar Thermochemical Processes for Sustainable Fuel Production

Dr. Alon Lidor
ETH Zürich, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering
Postdoctoral Associate / Marie-Curie Fellow

The production of drop-in solar fuels can eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and provide the path to sustainable aviation. One such promising pathway is via a thermochemical redox cycle for splitting H2O and CO2, driven by concentrated sunlight. To date the best experimental demonstration had a solar-to-fuel energy efficiency of 5-6%, a value that can be significantly increased by implementing heat recovery.

We have developed a novel method for high-temperature heat recovery, in which the solar reactor is coupled with a thermal energy storage (TES) unit, and a heat transfer fluid (HTF) is used to extract high-temperature heat from the redox material and charge the TES unit.

An experimental setup was designed, constructed, and tested in the ETH high-flux solar simulator. The concept was successfully demonstrated with a measured effectiveness of over 80%, and extracted HTF temperatures over 1250°C. The experimental campaign included a parametric study of the process and its performance. The results show the potential of high-temperature heat recovery in solar reactors, outline the challenges, and provide important insights for such processes.


Dr. Lidor is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Professorship of Renewable Energy Carriers at ETH Zürich since 2019. He received his B.Sc. (2011) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Ben-Gurion University, and his M.Sc. (2013) and Ph.D. (2017) from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He was a DLR-DAAD Postdoctoral Fellow at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in 2018-2019, before winning a Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship and starting his current position at ETH. His research interests include solar thermochemical processes, high-temperature heat recovery, thermal energy storage, small-scale propulsion units, and fundamental topics in thermodynamics, and his work combines theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches.

Location: MAE-A 303
Zoom Meeting ID: 915 4103 1843 Passcode: MAE


Hosted by

Jonathan Scheffe