TechConnect Innovation Program

Solar Thermochemical Reactor – Efficient Production of Fuels from Sunlight

University of Minnesota, Minnesota, United States

TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a solar thermochemical reactor which produces syngas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) from concentrated solar energy, water, carbon dioxide and a catalyst. The reactor has the potential to be 10 times more efficient than current reactor designs.

Primary Application Area: Renewable & Hydrogen Energy

Technology Development Status: Concept

Technology Readiness Level: TRL 3

FIGURES OF MERIT

Value Proposition: Solar thermochemical approaches to producing liquid fuels have been considered for many decades but have not been adopted because the reactor efficiency is too low. This technology has the potential to solve the low efficiency problem that has hindered implementation of solar thermochemical reactors.

SHOWCASE SUMMARY

Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab

National Innovation Awardee

Showcase Booth #: 716

Website: www.research.umn.edu/techcomm/

GOVT/EXTERNAL FUNDING SOURCES

Government Funding/Support to Date: DOE ARPA-E (http://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=arpa-e-projects/solar-thermochemical-fuels-production)

Primary Sources of Funding: Federal Grant, University

Looking for: Both Funding and Development Partners