Implications of Exceptional Material Kinetics on Thermochemical Fuel Production Rates

Timothy C. Davenport, Chih Kai Yang, Christopher J. Kucharczyk, Michael J. Ignatowich, Sossina M. Haile*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Production of chemical fuels by solar-driven thermochemical cycling has recently generated significant interest for its potential as a highly efficient method of storing solar energy. Of particular interest is the thermochemical process using non-stoichiometric oxides, such as ceria. In this process a reactive oxide is cyclically exposed to an inert gas, typically at 1500 °C to induce the partial reduction of the oxide, and then exposed to an oxidizing gas of either H2O or CO2 at a temperature between 800–1500 °C to oxidize the oxide and release H2 or CO. Conventional wisdom has held that material kinetics limit the fuel production rates. Herein we demonstrate that, instead, at 1500 °C the rates of both reduction and oxidation of ceria, and hence also the global fuel production rate, are limited only by thermodynamic considerations for any reasonable set of operating conditions. Thus, in terms of materials design, significant room exists for sacrificing material kinetics in favor of thermodynamic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-770
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • ceria
  • fuels
  • mass transport
  • thermochemical cycle
  • water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)


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