Thesis: Integrating Concentrated Solar Thermal Energy into High Temperature-Based Industrial Processes
Principal Supervisor: A/Prof Thomas Rainey
My research focuses on the use of concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy to drive high temperature-based unit operations in industrial process plants. The process industry contributes about 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while 55 per cent of energy consumption in the world is in high temperature-based industrial processes. The energy-intensive and high temperature-based process industry examined by my research include bioenergy production, pyrometallurgy and mineral processing. Some of the outcomes of the research include the assessment of CST integration option in the supercritical water gasification of microalgae biomass for syngas production from an energy and economic perspective. In addition, exergo-economic evaluation with respect to better performing energy-process configuration had been assessed to further lower microalgae-based syngas fuel price and promote cleaner energy alternatives. There is ongoing work on the economic evaluation of CST energy use for thermochemical reduction-based water and CO2 splitting for hydrogen and syngas production. Future work includes the evaluation of CST energy integration in pyrometallurgical operations such as steel and glass making, and mineral processing operations such as calcination for alumina production.