The Photochemical Synthesis of Fine Chemicals with Sunlight

Authors

  • Dr. Peter Esser,

    1. Institut für Organische Chemie der Technischen Hochschule Professor-Pirlet-Strasse 1, D-52056 Aachen (FRG) Telefax: Int. code + (241)8888127
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  • Dipl.-Chem. Bettina Pohlmann,

    1. Institut für Organische Chemie der Technischen Hochschule Professor-Pirlet-Strasse 1, D-52056 Aachen (FRG) Telefax: Int. code + (241)8888127
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  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Dieter Scharf

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut für Organische Chemie der Technischen Hochschule Professor-Pirlet-Strasse 1, D-52056 Aachen (FRG) Telefax: Int. code + (241)8888127
    • Institut für Organische Chemie der Technischen Hochschule Professor-Pirlet-Strasse 1, D-52056 Aachen (FRG) Telefax: Int. code + (241)8888127
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  • Dedicated to the memory of Klaus Gollnick

Abstract

The light of the sun can be used directly for changing chemical structures photochemically. Any industrial application must conform to the limitations imposed by the spectral distribution of the photons from the sun, the interruptions to the radiation due to the day/night rhythm, and the weather. In this review, we describe the photochemical potential of the sun, give a fundamental treatment of the concept of photoreactors driven by sunlight (abbreviated to solar photoreactors), and give an account of the realization of this concept in the first pilot plant on the “Plataforma Solar de Almeria” in southern Spain and in other activities in this field. Based on experimental data from photochemical investigations on the pilot plant scale, possibilities, limitations, and the potential growth of solar photochemistry are described. Solar photochemistry, in our opinion, is a technique which could make a contribution to the chemistry of the future because of its photochemical synthesis potential, the avoidance of waste products, and the direct utilization of the sun, not only as a primary energy source, but also as a reaction partner.

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