Feasibility of Solar Updraft Towers as Photocatalytic Reactors for Removal of Atmospheric Methane–The Role of Catalysts and Rate Limiting Steps

Yanfang Huang, Yimin Shao, Yang Bai, Qingchun Yuan, Tingzhen Ming, Philip Davies, Xiaohua Lu, Renaud de Richter, Wei Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Due to the alarming speed of global warming, greenhouse gas removal from atmosphere will be absolutely necessary in the coming decades. Methane is the second most harmful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. There is an emerging technology proposed to incorporating photocatalysis with solar updraft Towers (SUT) to remove methane from the air at a planetary scale. In this study, we present a deep analysis by calculating the potential of methane removal in relation to the dimensions and configuration of SUT using different photocatalysts. The analysis shows that the methane removal rate increases with the SUT dimensions and can be enhanced by changing the configuration design. More importantly, the low methane removal rate on conventional TiO2 photocatalyst can be significantly improved to, for example, 42.5% on a more effective Ag-doped ZnO photocatalyst in a 200 MW SUT while the photocatalytic reaction is the rate limiting step. The factors that may further affect the removal of methane, such as more efficient photocatalysts, night operation and reaction zone are discussed as possible solutions to further improve the system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number745347
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Huang, Shao, Bai, Yuan, Ming, Davies, Lu, de Richter and Li. This
is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is
permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited
and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted
academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not
comply with these terms.

Keywords

  • Chemistry
  • solar updraft
  • photocatalysis
  • non-CO2 greenhouse gases
  • methane
  • climate change

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