Monolith structures are a common method to scale flow chemistry tools up to industrial throughput. Internally illuminated monolith reactors (IIMRs) were their versions for photochemistry. The channels inside the monolith were illuminated with optical fibers coated with a photocatalyst such as TiO2. The majority of the light in an IIMR was however not utilized to illuminate the reaction medium. Furthermore, the monolith was always made of opaque materials, making it impossible for unabsorbed light to illuminate other channels, lowering the photochemical space‐time yield (PSTY), a benchmark for the overall energy efficiency of a photoreactor. In this paper, the potential of a translucent monolith structure for scalable photochemical process design was tested. Due to the translucent nature of the monolith, there was no need for optical fibers or multiple light sources to provide the necessary photon flux and distribution. There has never been a study of translucent monoliths in the open literature and no design parameters have been investigated. This research studies the first translucent monoliths and their design principles by varying the channel size, channel distance as well as the amount of unit cells with a ray tracing algorithm in COMSOL Multiphysics. A model was developed, validated and used to design a monolith for the photodegradation of micropollutants in a case study. A theoretical improvement of seven orders of magnitude in PSTY was obtained compared to IIMRs making this reactor design a promising candidate for more efficient photochemical processes.
Journal of Advanced Manufacturing and Processing – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 2020
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