Solar Fuels

We study a range of strategies for the conversion of solar energy to fuels.  Specifically, we first synthesize integrated solar refineries and then build models to study them – identify the major technical bottlenecks and economic drivers. In collaboration with experimental groups, we have studied a range of strategies, including (1) thermochemical splitting of hydrogen and/or carbon dioxide towards the production of Fischer-Tropsch fuels (Kim et al., 2011; Kim et al., 2012), (2) alternative systems for solar ammonia (Wang et al., 2018), and (3) solar methanol (Tountas et al., 2019). We have also developed a general framework for the assessment of such systems (Herron et al, 2015).

Solar Fuels Production

Schematic for solar fuels production. For solar-driven conversion processes, red indicates high temperature and yellow indicates ambient temperature.

Reproduced from (Herron et al., 2015), with permission from The Royal Society of Chemistry


Kim J, Miller JA, Johnson T Stechel E, Maravelias CT. Fuel Production from CO2 Using Solar-Thermal Energy: System Level Analysis. Energy and Environmental Science, 5 (9), 8417 – 8429, 2012.

Kim J, Henao CA, Johnson TA, Dedrick DE, Miller JA, Stechel EB, Maravelias CT. Methanol Production from CO2 Using Solar-Thermal Energy: Process Development and Techno-Economic Analysis. Energy and Environmental Science, 4, 3122-3132, 2011.

Herron JA, Kim J, Upadhye AA, Huber GW, Maravelias CT. A Generalized Framework for the Assessment of Solar Fuels Technologies. Energy and Environmental Science, 8, 126-157, 2015.

Tountas AA, Peng X, Tavasoli AV, Duchesne PN, Dingle TL, Dong Y, Hurtado L, Mohan A, Sun W, Ulmer U, Wang L, Wood TE, Maravelias CT, Sain MM, Ozin GA. Towards Solar Methanol: Past, Present and Future. Advanced Science, 6, 1801903, 2019.

Wang L, Xia M, Wang H, Huang K, Qian C, Maravelias CT, Ozin GA. Greening Ammonia: Toward the Solar Ammonia Refinery. Joule, 2, 1055-1074, 2018.