Simulation of the sulphur iodine thermochemical cycle
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The demand for energy is increasing throughout the world, and fossil fuel resources are diminishing. At the same time, the use of fossil fuels is slowly being reduced because it pollutes the environment. Research into alternative energy sources becomes necessary and important. An alternative fuel should not only replace fossil fuels but also address the environmental challenges posed by the use of fossil fuels. Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly substance considering that its product of combustion is water. Hydrogen is perceived to be a major contender to replace fossil fuels. Although hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy storage medium and a carrier which can be converted into electrical energy by an electrochemical process such as in fuel cell technology. Current hydrogen production methods, such as steam reforming, derive hydrogen from fossil fuels. As such, these methods still have a negative impact on the environment. Hydrogen can also be produced using thermochemical cycles which avoid the use of fossil fuels. The production of hydrogen through thermochemical cycles is expected to compete with the existing hydrogen production technologies. The sulphur iodine (SI) thermochemical cycle has been identified as a high-efficiency approach to produce hydrogen using either nuclear or solar power. A sound foundation is required to enable future construction and operation of thermochemical cycles. The foundation should consist of laboratory to pilot scale evaluation of the process. The activities involved are experimental verification of reactions, process modelling, conceptual design and pilot plant runs. Based on experimental and pilot plant data presented from previous research, this study presents the simulation of the sulphur iodine thermochemical cycle as applied to the South African context. A conceptual design is presented for the sulphur iodine thermochemical cycle with the aid of a process simulator. The low heating value (LHV) energy efficiency is 18% and an energy efficiency of 24% was achieved. The estimated hydrogen production cost was evaluated at $18/kg.
- Engineering