Scientists around the world are working towards the goal of developing technologies to harness energy from the sun to produce fuels for transport, industry and electricity generation. Fuels produced using solar energy would transform our future energy options by providing an alternative to fossil fuels.Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar energy technologies include solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity and solar architecture, which can make considerable contributions to solving some of the most urgent problems the world now faces.We all know about the ever growing energy needs of our world.
If we can use it to produce fuel , it would be milestone for us and for our future generation. Many researches around the world are working on this project.
To produce synthetic gas which can be used with our currently available infrastructure.This project should have the potential not only to be completely renewable, but to produce a minimal carbon footprint.
It can be done using process known as a two-step solar thermochemical cycle, which involves using concentrated sunlight to heat a metal oxide and split it into metal and oxygen. The resulting metal is then reacted with carbon dioxide and water, producing carbon monoxide and hydrogen, or synthesis gas, which can be used to make diesel fuel and other synthetic fuels.
The process begins with a solar simulator in the form of seven mirrored, 6,500-watt lamps that concentrate the light on a 10-centimeter spot with an irradiance of 3,000 suns. With this concentrated radiant energy, one can generate temperatures of more than 3,600 F in a chemical reactor. There, carbon dioxide and water are split to form carbon monoxide and hydrogen, the two components of synthetic gas.The key to the technology rests with oxides of two metals: zinc and cerium which allow us to split water and carbon dioxide at temperatures achievable with modern solar concentrating devices.