3.16.2010

New Reactor Uses Sunlight to Turn H2O and CO2 Into Fuel

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2009-11/co2-recycler-uses-sunlight-turn-waste-carbon-back-fuel
Counter-Rotating-Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (CR5) - www.popsci.com

[This is 'old news'. Sandia National Laboratories released this project to the public back in Dec/2007. So, these guys in PopSci must've been 'made' to give out a 'new spin' on a technology the Sandia people were, most likely, trying to put out as a 'commercial solution' to the climategate hoax. All in all, this is good science to keep in mind...]

Scientists at Sandia National Labs, seeking a means to create cheap and abundant hydrogen to power a hydrogen economy, realized they could use the same technology to "reverse-combust" CO2 back into fuel. Researchers still have to improve the efficiency of the system, but they recently demonstrated a working prototype of their "Sunshine to Petrol" machine that converts waste CO2 to carbon monoxide, and then syngas, consuming nothing but solar energy.
The device, boasting the simple title Counter-Rotating-Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (we'll go with "CR5") sets off a thermo-chemical reaction by exposing an iron-rich composite to concentrated solar heat. The composite sheds an oxygen molecule when heated and gets one back as it cools.
The cylindrical metal CR5 is divided into hot and cold chambers. Solar energy heats the hot chamber to a scorching 2,700 degrees, hot enough to force the iron oxide composite to lose oxygen atoms. The composite is then thrust into the cool chamber, which is filled with carbon dioxide. As it cools, the iron oxide snatches back its lost oxygen atoms, leaving behind carbon monoxide.
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