Producing Useful Chemicals Using a Nuclear Reactor
Engineering Department, Lancaster University
Arran George Plant (email:email@example.com), Dr Vesna Najdanovic-Visak (email:firstname.lastname@example.org) and Professor Malcolm J. Joyce (email:email@example.com) are with Lancaster University, LA1 0PF UK
Dr Luka Snoj (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anže Jazbec (email@example.com) are with the Jozef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Published online: 20 January 2020
In this paper, the irradiation of glycerol and ethylene glycol by either mixed (neutron-γ) or γ-only (γ) fields at the TRIGA reactor of the Jožef Stefan Institute is described. This is highly relevant to future applications of fission reactor systems to produce useful feedstock derivatives from organic waste, beyond the production of heat and power.
Samples of glycerol and ethyl glycol have been exposed to neutron-gamma radiation with fast neutron fluxes ranging from 7.7×1010 to 3×1012 cm−2s−1 and gamma-only irradiation at maximum dose-rates of 492 and 10 kGy hr−1, respectively. A study of the dependence of product yield versus absorbed dose has been conducted, for total dose ranges of 1 to 100 kGy. The products of these exposures have been identified through Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques.
Analysis comparing neutron-gamma irradiated samples of ethylene glycol and glycerol with gamma-irradiated samples shows no detectable qualitative difference between either irradiation type. Although, additional radiolysis products were detected when compared with available literature; ethyl acetate from ethylene glycol and solketal from glycerol. Quantitatively, neutron-gamma irradiation seems to be less effective at producing acetaldehyde from ethylene glycol, compared with gamma-only which can be explained through neutron moderation and consequent heating effects due to the borosilicate vials.
Key words: Chemical analysis / Chemical engineering / Neutron radiation effects / Organic chemicals / Radiolysis
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.