The use of solar energy to power chemical reactions is a long-standing dream of the chemical community. Recently, visible-light-mediated photoredox catalysis has been recognized as the ideal catalytic transformation to convert solar energy into chemical bonds. However, scaling photochemical transformations has been extremely challenging due to Bouguer-Lambert-Beer law. Recently, we have pioneered the development of luminescent solar concentrator photomicroreactors (LSC-PMs), which display an excellent energy efficiency. These devices harvest solar energy, convert the broad solar energy spectrum to a narrow-wavelength region, and subsequently waveguide the re-emitted photons to the reaction channels. Herein, we report on the scalability of such LSC-PMs via a numbering-up strategy. Paramount in our work was the use of molds that were fabricated via 3D printing. This allowed us to rapidly produce many different prototypes and to optimize experimentally key design aspects in a time-efficient fashion. Reactors up to 32 parallel channels have been fabricated that display an excellent flow distribution using a bifurcated flow distributor (standard deviations below 10%). This excellent flow distribution was crucial to scale up a model reaction efficiently, displaying yields comparable to those obtained in a single-channel device. We also found that interchannel spacing is an important and unique design parameter for numbered-up LSC-PMs, which influences greatly the photon flux experienced within the reaction channels.
- Luminescent solar concentrator
- Solar energy