San Diego State University - Minds That Move the World

Solar Energy

SDSU Masters Theses: Lee Frederickson

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Lee Frederickson

My research project involves the experimentation of the lab-scale Carbon Particle Generator (CPG), solar receiver, and solar simulator, along with computer modeling of the CPG.  The CPG is heated tube reacted designed to produce carbon nanoparticles from the pyrolysis of a hydrocarbon.  These carbon particles are then mixed with air and fed to the solar receiver.  The solar simulator, a xenon arc lamp with an ellipsoidal reflector, is used to simulate the heliostat field by generating radiation focused on the aperture of the receiver aperture.  The incoming radiation from the solar simulator is absorbed by the carbon particles inside of the receiver which then transfer heat to air.  As the air-particle mixture flows through the receiver, it heats up and the particles eventually oxidize, resulting in a clear gas stream flowing out of the receiver.

System operation is monitored and recorded in LabVIEW, which displays temperatures, pressures, flow rates, and extinction tube voltages.  Particle size is measured by using a Diesel Particulate Scatterometer (DPS) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM).  Results from the DPS and SEM are compared to ensure accurate particle size data.  The mass loading at the outlet of the particle generator is estimated in the extinction tube, where a laser and photodiode are used to measure the opacity of the air-particle mixture.  Experimental results from the CPG are compared to the computer model, which is being setup in Reaction Design CHEMKIN software.