Thermodynamic and Kinetic Study of the Carbothermal Reduction of SnO2 for Solar Thermochemical Fuel Generation

Abstract : The carbothermal reduction of SnO2 is studied as part of a two-step thermochemical process for solar fuel production. A second law analysis was applied to validate a combined methane cracking–SnO2 carbothermal cycle, which shows 86% theoretical exergy efficiency and an energy content upgrading of 28.2%. Thermodynamics predicts a predominance of solid–solid reactions over 700 °C (SnO2 + C → Sn + CO2, and SnO2 + 2C → Sn + 2CO), while a plausible two-step solid–gas mechanism can also be speculated (SnO2 + 2CO → Sn + 2CO2, and C + CO2 → 2CO). Two carbon types were selected to investigate the reaction mechanism, a high specific surface area activated charcoal, and a nanosized carbon black obtained from solar methane cracking. The activated carbon favors the solid–gas mechanism (activation energy of 267 kJ mol–1), while carbon black favors direct solid–solid reduction through a slower but complete reaction with a first-order reaction mechanism and a lower activation energy (204 kJ mol–1), opening opportunities for improved profitability of both methane cracking and redox cycles for solar fuel generation.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 17, 2015 - 3:59:59 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 6:22:15 AM

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Gaël Levêque, Stéphane Abanades. Thermodynamic and Kinetic Study of the Carbothermal Reduction of SnO2 for Solar Thermochemical Fuel Generation. Energy and Fuels, American Chemical Society, 2014, 28 (2), pp.1396-1405. ⟨10.1021/ef402182g⟩. ⟨hal-01178191⟩

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