A solar-thermal chemical reactor for converting CO2 to fuels

The extraction and consumption of fossil carbon to run our daily lives accounts for over six billion metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. The HI-Light reactor is a solar-thermocatalytic ‘reverse combustion’ technology that enables the conversion of CO2 back to simple hydrocarbons such as methanol, transforming carbon conversion into a profitable enterprise. The design consists of tubes that act as internal light-guiding rods with specially designed scattering surfaces. These enable deep and efficient penetration of the solar radiation captured from a parabolic light concentrator into the reactor, allowing faster reaction rates and selectivity of higher hydrocarbons.

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao

  • Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao
    Cornell University

    I am a Ph.D. student in the Erickson Lab at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell in Ithaca, NY. My major is Micro & Nanoscale Engineering, with minors in Energy & Sustainability, Infection & Immunity, and Entrepreneurship. My research at Cornell has two lines: (1) HI-Light (thesis), a glass waveguide based photoreactor technology for converting CO2 to fuels; (2) FeverPhone, a smartphone based molecular diagnostics platform for differential diagnosis of six acute febrile illness.more

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