The conversion of renewable energy especially solar energy into versatile fuels is a key technology for an innovative and sustainable energy economy. To finally benefit from solar fuels they have to be produced with high efficiencies and low to no greenhouse gas emissions in large quantities. The final goal will most probably be the carbon free fuel hydrogen. But the main challenge is its market introduction. Therefore a strategy incorporating transition steps has to be developed. Solar thermal processes have the potential to be amongst the most efficient alternatives for large scale solar fuel production in the future. Therefore high temperature solar technologies are under development for the different development steps up to the final goal of carbon free hydrogen. This paper discusses the strategy based on the efficiencies of the chosen solar processes incorporating carbonaceous materials for a fast market introduction and processes based on water splitting for long term solar hydrogen generation. A comparison with the most common industrial processes shall demonstrate which endeavors have to be done to establish solar fuels.

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