Advertisement

2014 R&D 100 Winner
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System (STARS)The U.S. is investing heavily to provide cost-effective, large-scale renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to meet growing electricity demand and minimize carbon emissions. However, currently available solar technologies haven’t been widely adopted and are limited by energy-conversion efficiency, high costs and sizable geographic footprint required for large-scale use.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System (STARS) addresses a major criticism of solar energy, which, like wind power, can’t provide continuous output. Because of its design, STARS doesn’t require power plants to cease operations when the sun sets or clouds cover the sky. It instead collects solar power to convert natural gas (biomethane) into synthesis gas (syngas). STARS works by concentrating solar energy using a parabolic dish and reflecting it into a thermochemical meso-channel reactor. Water and natural gas are fed through a recuperative heat exchanger when 800 C is reached by the concentrator. The ensuing reaction, enabled by a newly-designed catalyst, allows STARS to produce syngas at a conversion efficiency of 70%, which is a world record. This allows power plants to make electricity while using 20% less fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared with conventional gas-fired plants.

Technology
Solar thermochemical advanced reactor system

Developers
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Development Team

 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System (STARS) development team (l-r): Dustin Caldwell, Robert Wegeng, Robert Dagle and Feng (Richard) Zheng.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daryl Brown, PNNL  Brad Fritz, PNNL
Daryl Brown, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Brad Fritz, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Palo, former PNNL   Paul Humble, PNNL
Dan Palo, formerly from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

 

Paul Humble, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shankar Krishnan, former PNNL  Steven Leith, former PNNL 
Shankar Krishnan, formerly from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Steven Leith, formerly from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ward TeGrotenhuis, PNNL   Richard Diver, DiverSolar LLC
Ward TeGrotenhuis, Pacific Northwest National Labroatory

 

Richard Diver, DiverSolar LLC


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Cameron, PNNL   Jair Lizarazo-Adarme, former PNNL

 

Richard Cameron, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Jair Lizarazo-Adarme, formerly from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System (STARS) Development Team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Robert Wegeng, Principal Developer
Daryl Brown
Dustin D. Caldwell
Richard J. Cameron
Robert A. Dagle
Richard B. Diver, DiverSolar LLC
Brad Fritz
Paul Humble
Shankar Krishnan
Jair Lizarazo-Adarme
Dan Palo
Fen (Richard) Zheng

Advertisement
Advertisement