A detailed numerical model is presented for high-temperature, catalytically enhanced, solar absorption chemical reactors. In these reactors, concentrated solar energy is volumetrically absorbed throughout a porous absorber matrix impregnated with a catalyst. The catalyst promotes heterogeneous reactions with fluid-phase reactant species flowing through the absorber. This paper presents a description of a numerical model and the basic concepts of reactor operation. The numerical model of the absorber includes solar and infrared radiation, heterogeneous chemical reactions, conduction in the solid phase, and convection between the fluid and solid phases. The model is nonlinear primarily due to both the radiative transfer and the heterogeneous chemistry occurring in the absorber. The nonlinear two-point boundary value problem is solved using superposition with orthonormalization and an adaptive solution point scheme. This technique preserves accuracy throughout the domain. The model can be modified for other chemical reactions and can be simplified to model volumetric air-heating receivers.

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