Morphology Engineering of Porous Media for Enhanced Solar Fuel and Power Production
The favorable and adjustable transport properties of porous media make them suitable components in reactors used for solar energy conversion and storage processes. The directed engineering of the porous media's morphology can significantly improve the performance of these reactors. We used a multiscale approach to characterize the changes in performance of exemplary solar fuel processing and solar power production reactors incorporating porous media as multifunctional components. The method applied uses imaging-based direct numerical simulations and digital image processing in combination with volume averaging theory to characterize the transport in porous media. Two samples with varying morphology (fibrous vs. foam) and varying size range (mm vs. mu m scale), each with porosity between 0.46 and 0.84, were characterized. The obtained effective transport properties were used in continuum-scale models to quantify the performance of reactors incorporating multifunctional porous media for solar fuel processing by photoelectrochemical water splitting or power production by solar thermal processes.