Mechanism of Zn Particle Oxidation by H2 O and CO2 in the Presence of ZnO

Chemistry of Materials : a Publication of the American Chemical Society
David WeibelAldo Steinfeld


In this work we investigate the mechanism of Zn oxidation with CO2 and/or H2O to produce solar derived fuels (CO and/or H2) as part of the Zn/ZnO thermochemical redox cycle. It has been observed that the ZnO contamination of Zn produced by solar thermal reduction of ZnO (solar Zn) facilitates oxidation of the metallic Zn by CO2 and H2O, allowing for nearly complete conversion at temperatures as low as 350 °C. Reaching the same reaction extent starting with pure Zn requires considerably higher temperatures which imposes use of unconventional hard-to-operate reaction configurations utilizing Zn as vapor. The mechanism of this enhancement is investigated by studying the oxidation of solid Zn diluted with ZnO or Al2O3 at 350-400 °C utilizing thermogravimetry. It is found that ZnO acts as the site for the oxidation of Zn originating from the vapor phase, thereby serving as a sink for Zn vapor and maintaining the driving force for sustainable Zn sublimation. As this Zn sublimation competes with the growth of an impervious ZnO scale over the surface of the remaining solid Zn, the presence of the ZnO increases the reaction extent according to the magnitude of its surface area. This mechanism is supported by energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX...Continue Reading

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