Reduction of Cobalt Oxide Using Concentrated Solar Energy
Solar Energy Research Group
Past research in solar concentrated energy has shown that through the reduction of metal oxides, solar thermal energy can be stored and later used for the purposes of hydrogen production through electrolysis. Previous research has modeled that cobalt oxide (II), Co3O4, can be converted into cobalt oxide (III) with an ideal thermal efficiency of 38%. The current study is trying to validate this model by finding the optimal Co3O4 feed rate for our system with the long-term goal of proving the industrial viability of the process. For each experiment, the solar reactor was heated to at least 1000 through concentrated solar energy before feeding Co3O4 into the reactor occurred. Feeding took place for 10 minutes or until the reactor temperature dropped below 960. For the ideal thermal efficiency, it is predicted there will be 100% conversion for feed rates up to 100 g/min. Results have shown at least 90% conversion from Co3O4 to CoO at feed rates from 5 to 15 grams per minute. At an 18 g/min feed rate, 99% Co3O4 fed in to the reactor converted into CoO. Further testing at higher feed rates is needed to confirm the model.
Smith, Ben; Schmit, Brian; and Bassett, Katie, "Reduction of Cobalt Oxide Using Concentrated Solar Energy" (2019). Summer Interdisciplinary Research Symposium. 61.