• photocatalytic reactor;
  • solar energy;
  • radiation transport;
  • Monte Carlo method;
  • modified differential approximation


Radiative transfer inside a slurry photocatalytic reactor with hybrid illumination from both solar radiation and lamps is examined. The local volumetric rate of photon absorption is evaluated. For this purpose, the P1 and the modified differential approximations (MDAs) are used, and results compared to a solution by the Monte Carlo method. It is found that significant differences may arise between the predictions of the above approximations and the exact results provided by the Monte Carlo simulations. The P1 approximation is very inaccurate near to the radiation entrance for the partially collimated solar radiation, although it improves, as optical depth increases. As expected, the MDA improves the results near to the boundary. Surprisingly, it turns out to be much worse than the P1 approximation at medium and large optical depths. In the case of lamp irradiation, the behavior of the MDA is the opposite; it works better at small optical depths. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 58: 3256–3265, 2012