May 1, 2015
Widespread solar fuel production depends on its economic viability, largely driven by the solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency. Herein, the material and energy requirements in two-step solar-thermochemical cyclesare considered.The need for advanced redox active materials is demonstrated, by considering the oxide mass flow requirements at a large scale. Two approaches are also identified for maximizing the efficiency: optimizing reaction temperatures, and minimizing the pressure in the thermal reduction step by staged thermal reduction. The results show that each approach individually, and especially the two in conjunction, result in significant efficiency gains.