Performance Measurements of Solid-Oxide Electrolysis Cells for Hydrogen Production

[+] Author and Article Information
J. E. O’Brien, C. M. Stoots, J. S. Herring, P. A. Lessing

 Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID 83415

J. J. Hartvigsen, S. Elangovan

 Ceramatec, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT 84119

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 2(3), 156-163 (Feb 01, 2005) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1895946 History: Received June 29, 2004; Revised February 01, 2005

An experimental study has been completed to assess the performance of single solid-oxide electrolysis cells operating over a temperature range of 800 to 900°C. The experiments were performed over a range of steam inlet partial pressures (2.3–12.2 kPa), carrier gas flow rates (50–200 sccm), and current densities (0.750.25Acm2) using single electrolyte-supported button cells of scandia-stabilized zirconia. Steam consumption rates associated with electrolysis were measured directly using inlet and outlet dew-point instrumentation. Cell operating potentials and cell current were varied using a programmable power supply and monitored continuously. Values of area-specific resistance and thermal efficiency are presented as a function of current density. Cell performance is shown to be continuous from the fuel-cell mode to the electrolysis mode of operation. The effects of steam starvation and thermal cycling on cell performance parameters are discussed.

Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic of experimental setup

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Figure 2

High-temperature steam electrolysis hardware

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Figure 3

Detail of button cell

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Figure 4

Open-cell potentials during heat up

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Figure 5

Cell potential and power density as a function of current density

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Figure 6

Effect of cell current on reference potential

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Figure 7

Area-specific resistance dependence on current density

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Figure 8

Dew-point temperature change

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Figure 9

Hydrogen production rates

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Figure 10

Area-specific resistance, steady-state tests

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Figure 11

Thermal efficiencies based on hydrogen production rates and cell voltages



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