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Development of an off-grid solar-powered autonomous chemical mini-plant for producing fine chemicals

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Masson, T. M., Zondag, S. D. A., Kuijpers, K. P. L., Cambié, D., Debije, M. G., & Noël, T. (2021). Development of an off-grid solar-powered autonomous chemical mini-plant for producing fine chemicals. ChemSusChem, 14(24), 5417-5423. doi:10.1002/cssc.202102011.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-1D9B-8
Abstract
Photochemistry using inexhaustible solar energy is an eco-friendly way to produce fine chemicals outside the typical laboratory or chemical plant environment. However, variations in solar irradiation conditions and the need for an external energy source to power electronic components limits the accessibility of this approach. In this work, a chemical solar-driven “mini-plant” centred around a scaled-up luminescent solar concentrator photomicroreactor (LSC-PM) was built. To account for the variations in solar irradiance at ground level and passing clouds, a responsive control system was designed that rapidly adapts the flow rate of the reagents to the light received by the reaction channels. Supplying the plant with solar panels, integrated into the module by placing it behind the LSC to utilize the transmitted fraction of the solar irradiation, allowed this setup to be self-sufficient and fully operational off-grid. Such a system can shine in isolated environments and in a distributed manufacturing world, allowing to decentralize the production of fine chemicals.