Reactors and methods for solar thermochemical reactions are disclosed. Embodiments of reactors include at least two distinct reactor chambers between which there is at least a pressure differential. In embodiments, reactive particles are exchanged between chambers during a reaction cycle to thermally reduce the particles at first conditions and oxidize the particles at second conditions to produce chemical work from heat. In embodiments, chambers of a reactor are coupled to a heat exchanger to pre-heat the reactive particles prior to direct exposure to thermal energy with heat transferred from reduced reactive particles as the particles are oppositely conveyed between the thermal reduction chamber and the fuel production chamber. In an embodiment, particle conveyance is in part provided by an elevator which may further function as a heat exchanger.
Embodiments of the invention were developed under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between Sandia Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.