Simulation of CO2 photoreduction in a twin reactor by multiphysics models

Xuesong Lu, Xiaojiao Luo, Jeannie Z. Y. Tan, M. Mercedes Maroto-Valer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The production of solar fuels through CO2 photoreduction is a promising process to control CO2 emissions and provide alternative renewable fuels. Recently, a twin photoreactor design has been used to enhance CO2 conversion efficiency. However, the reaction mechanisms and operating conditions are not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this work is to understand the CO2 photoreduction mechanisms in the twin photoreactor by using multiphysics modelling (COMSOL 5.2a). A 2D axisymmetric model was built and the predicted yield of CH3OH matched the experimental values very well under different molar ratios of CO to CO2. Moreover, the effects of operating parameters, including bubble size, gas volume rate, bubble entrance size and photocatalyst loading, were investigated. The CO2 photoreduction in the liquid phase was shown to be a mass-transfer controlled process, and the flow properties significantly influenced the CO2 photoreduction. It was found that the bubbly circulation flow structure, interfacial area between gas and liquid, and surface area of the catalyst are critical for the CH3OH yield. This study can provide the theoretical guidance for process optimization and reactor design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Early online date22 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • CO photoreduction
  • Multiphysics modelling
  • Solar fuels
  • Twin reactor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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