A comparative performance analysis of stand-alone, off-grid solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators

E. Chinello, Miguel Modestino, J. W. Schüttauf, L. Coulot, M. Ackermann, F. Gerlich, A. Faes, D. Psaltis, C. Moser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) is a chemical commodity widely employed as a disinfection agent in water treatment applications. Its production commonly follows electrochemical routes in an undivided reactor. Powering the process with photovoltaic (PV) electricity holds the potential to install stand-alone, independent generators and reduce the NaClO production cost. This study reports the comparative assessment of autonomous, solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators employing different photovoltaic (PV) technologies: silicon hetero-junction (SHJ) and multi-junction (MJ) solar cells. For Si hetero-junctions, the series connection of either four or five SHJ (4SHJ and 5SHJ, respectively) cells was implemented to obtain the reaction potential required. MJ cells were illuminated by a novel planar solar concentrator that guarantees solar tracking with minimal linear displacements. The three solar-hypochlorite generators were tested under real atmospheric conditions, demonstrating solar-to-chemical conversion efficiencies (SCE) of 9.8% for 4SHJ, 14.2% for 5SHJ and 25.1% for MJ solar cells, respectively. Simulations based on weather databases allowed us to assess efficiencies throughout the entire model year and resulted in specific sodium hypochlorite yearly production rates between 7.2-28 g NaClO cm -2 (referred to the PV surface), depending on the considered PV technology, location, and deployment of electronics converters. The economic viability and competitiveness of solar hypochlorite generators have been investigated and compared with an analog disinfection system deploying ultraviolet lamps. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of off-grid, solar-hypochlorite generators, and points towards the implementation of SHJ solar cells as a reliable technology for stand-alone solar-chemical devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14432-14442
Number of pages11
JournalRSC Advances
Volume9
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Hypochlorous Acid
Sodium Hypochlorite
Silicon
Disinfection
Sodium
Ultraviolet lamps
Solar concentrators
Water treatment
Conversion efficiency
Solar cells
Electronic equipment
Electricity
Economics
Costs
Multi-junction solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

Cite this

Chinello, E., Modestino, M., Schüttauf, J. W., Coulot, L., Ackermann, M., Gerlich, F., ... Moser, C. (2019). A comparative performance analysis of stand-alone, off-grid solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators. RSC Advances, 9(25), 14432-14442. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9ra02221j

A comparative performance analysis of stand-alone, off-grid solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators. / Chinello, E.; Modestino, Miguel; Schüttauf, J. W.; Coulot, L.; Ackermann, M.; Gerlich, F.; Faes, A.; Psaltis, D.; Moser, C.

In: RSC Advances, Vol. 9, No. 25, 01.01.2019, p. 14432-14442.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chinello, E, Modestino, M, Schüttauf, JW, Coulot, L, Ackermann, M, Gerlich, F, Faes, A, Psaltis, D & Moser, C 2019, 'A comparative performance analysis of stand-alone, off-grid solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators', RSC Advances, vol. 9, no. 25, pp. 14432-14442. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9ra02221j
Chinello E, Modestino M, Schüttauf JW, Coulot L, Ackermann M, Gerlich F et al. A comparative performance analysis of stand-alone, off-grid solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators. RSC Advances. 2019 Jan 1;9(25):14432-14442. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9ra02221j
Chinello, E. ; Modestino, Miguel ; Schüttauf, J. W. ; Coulot, L. ; Ackermann, M. ; Gerlich, F. ; Faes, A. ; Psaltis, D. ; Moser, C. / A comparative performance analysis of stand-alone, off-grid solar-powered sodium hypochlorite generators. In: RSC Advances. 2019 ; Vol. 9, No. 25. pp. 14432-14442.
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