SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: William Sheline
TIME: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 4:00 p.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 109
TITLE: Concentrated Solar Chemistry: Design Stage Theoretical Thermodynamic Analysis of an Iron-Ethylene Production Process
COMMITTEE: Dr. Sheldon Jeter, Chair (ME)
Dr. Peter Loutzenhiser (ME)
Dr. Abdel-Khalik Said (ME)


Concentrated solar chemistry seeks to use heat produced from concentrated sunlight to fuel chemical reactions. One example of this is the decomposition of Zinc Oxide into Zinc and Oxygen which can occur around 1200°C with heat input from the sun. The Zinc produced can then be sold as a product or could theoretically be used as a “solar fuel” in a fuel cell. The purpose of this thesis will be to explore the possibilities of a new solar chemical cycle the produces iron and ethylene from hematite (a form of iron oxide) and ethane. These two products are important stepping stones in the production of steel and polymers. This process could allow for the current process of steel production to move away from processes using coal and towards a more sustainable process using the hydrogen formed from the ethane cracking process and solar energy. The thesis will include: (1) the development of a new solar powered iron and ethylene combined cycle, (2) a feasibility study of a Concentrated Solar Heat Supply System being developed at Georgia Tech, and (3) a critical assessment of the proposed cycle. The critical assessment will include an energy analysis, an exergy analysis and a preliminary cost analysis of the system. This will include a thermodynamic model with energy and exergy analysis, the estimated production of products, suggestions on necessary research to bring the process to actualization, and examples of methods to exchange heat between the solar process and chemical process.