Concentrated solar chemistry: design stage theoretical thermodynamic analysis of an iron-ethylene production process
Sheline, William Robert
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Although concentrated solar power can be used to produce power using traditional electricity generation, energy storage has become a problem due to the intermittent supply of solar energy. By using solar energy in chemical production processes, the solar energy can be stored in a useful chemical product. The purpose of this thesis will be to examine the possibilities of a new solar chemical cycle the produces iron and ethylene from hematite (a form of iron oxide) and ethane using concentrated solar power. These two products are important stepping stones in the production of steel and polymers. This process could allow for the current process of steel production to move away from processes using coal and towards a more sustainable process using the hydrogen formed from the ethane cracking process and solar energy. The thesis will include: (1) the development of a new solar powered iron and ethylene combined cycle, (2) a feasibility study of a Concentrated Solar Heat Supply System (CSHSS) being developed at Georgia Tech, and (3) an assessment of the proposed cycle. The assessment will include an estimate of production including a thermodynamic ASPEN model, assessment of research to realize actualization of the theoretical cycle, an exergy analysis, and a heat exchanger analysis for the exchange of heat between the CSHSS and the chemical process.