[ExI] Cheap fuel from coal and solar

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Oct 20 18:09:32 UTC 2023

James Bowery suggested on LinkedIn

Why not go straight from heliostat process heat to syngas rather than
PVC panel to electricity to syngas?

I replied

I don't know of a way to get solar heat into the coal and steam. Good
point though, if we could figure out some way, the solar collector
area would be reduced by a factor of about 4. I am also not sure how
hot the coal has to get to react with the steam. Will try to find out,
historically it was "white hot."

One thought this sets off is to use concentrated solar being absorbed
behind a sapphire window by powdered coal in steam. Keeping the window
clean from coal tar might be done by a steam layer behind the window.

The big advantage of this is that you can store the syngas and not
have to worry about thermal storage to keep the rest of the plant
operating overnight.

Thanks for the discussion.


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