This work reports on the development of a transient heat transfer model for a prototype reactor of type R2Mx for thermochemical water splitting by temperature and pressure swing of ceria. Key aspects of the R2Mx concept, which are also incorporated in the prototype design, include a movable monolithic redox structure combined with a linear transport system, a reduction reactor as well as a dedicated oxidation reactor. With the model, the operation of the prototype is simulated for consecutive water splitting cycles, in which ceria is reduced in a continuously heated reactor, oxidized in a separate oxidation reactor and transported in between the reaction zones.

A 2D axisymmetric numerical model of the prototype reactor was developed in ANSYS Mechanical. The model includes heat transfer calculations in combination with an approximated simulation of the transport of the redox material during cyclic operation. It incorporates the chemical reaction by means of a modified heat capacity for ceria and accounts for internal radiation heat transfer inside the porous redox material by applying effective heat transfer properties. A parametric analysis has been undertaken to evaluate different modes of operation of the oxidation reactor. Model results are used to size the power demand of the reduction reactor and vacuum pump, to define durations of the process steps as well as to assess operational parameters with respect to achieved temperatures.

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