A dynamic numerical model of a solar cavity-type reactor for the thermal dissociation of ZnO is formulated based on a detailed radiative heat transfer analysis combining the Monte Carlo ray-tracing technique and the radiosity enclosure theory. The quartz window is treated as a semi-transparent spectrally-selective glass layer with directionally dependent optical properties. Model validation is accomplished by comparison with experimental results obtained with a 10-kW solar reactor prototype in terms of cavity temperatures, reaction extents, and quartz window temperature distribution measured by IR thermography. The solar-to-fuel energy conversion efficiencies obtained experimentally are reported and the various energy flows are quantified.

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