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Solar reforming as an emerging technology for circular chemical industries.

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Bhattacharjee, Subhajit  ORCID logo
Linley, Stuart 


The adverse environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and persistent waste accumulation are driving the demand for sustainable approaches to clean-energy production and waste recycling. By coupling the thermodynamically favourable oxidation of waste-derived organic carbon streams with fuel-forming reduction reactions suitable for producing clean hydrogen or converting CO2 to fuels, solar reforming simultaneously valorizes waste and generates useful chemical products. With appropriate light harvesting, catalyst design, device configurations and waste pre-treatment strategies, a range of sustainable fuels and value-added chemicals can already be selectively produced from diverse waste feedstocks, including biomass and plastics, demonstrating the potential of solar-powered upcycling plants. This Review highlights solar reforming as an emerging technology that is currently transitioning from fundamental research towards practical application. We investigate the chemistry and compatibility of waste pre-treatment, introduce process classifications, explore the mechanisms of different solar reforming technologies, and suggest appropriate concepts, metrics and pathways for various deployment scenarios in a net-zero-carbon future.



34 Chemical Sciences, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

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Nat Rev Chem

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/S022953/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (966581)