Solar Photochemical Unit

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Solar Photochemical Unit


an apparatus that makes use of solar radiation to achieve photochemical reactions. As of 1975, such units were for the most part still in the experimental stage. A solar photochemical unit usually consists of an optical system (including a concentrator and an orientating device), a photochemical reactor in the form of a glass vessel, and an automatic control system.

Figure 1. Schematic of an experimental solar photochemical unit for the nitrosation of cyclohexane: (1) cylindrical parabolic mirror, (2) orientating device, (3) drive for turning the orientating device, (4) reactor, (5) sensor for the automatic control system

A promising use of solar photochemical units is for the nitrosation of cyclohexane in the production of caprolactam (see Figure 1). It is advisable to operate such a unit in combination with two other units: a cooling unit to maintain a constant reactor temperature and a chemical unit to process the substances needed for the nitrosation reaction. All three units can be operated on solar energy and thus can form a single system.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.