Mathematical Analysis of High-Temperature Co-electrolysis of CO2 and O2 Production in a Closed-Loop Atmosphere Revitalization System

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NASA has been evaluating two closed-loop atmosphere revitalization architectures based on Sabatier and Bosch carbon dioxide, CO2, reduction technologies. The CO2 and steam, H2O, co-electrolysis process is another option that NASA has investigated. Utilizing recent advances in the fuel cell technology sector, the Idaho National Laboratory, INL, has developed a CO2 and H2O co-electrolysis process to produce oxygen and syngas (carbon monoxide, CO and hydrogen, H2 mixture) for terrestrial (energy production) application. The technology is a combined process that involves steam electrolysis, CO2 electrolysis, and the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction. A number of process models have been developed ... continued below

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McKellar, Michael G.; Sohal, Manohar S.; Mulloth, Lila; Luna, Bernadette & Abney, Morgan B. March 1, 2010.

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NASA has been evaluating two closed-loop atmosphere revitalization architectures based on Sabatier and Bosch carbon dioxide, CO2, reduction technologies. The CO2 and steam, H2O, co-electrolysis process is another option that NASA has investigated. Utilizing recent advances in the fuel cell technology sector, the Idaho National Laboratory, INL, has developed a CO2 and H2O co-electrolysis process to produce oxygen and syngas (carbon monoxide, CO and hydrogen, H2 mixture) for terrestrial (energy production) application. The technology is a combined process that involves steam electrolysis, CO2 electrolysis, and the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction. A number of process models have been developed and analyzed to determine the theoretical power required to recover oxygen, O2, in each case. These models include the current Sabatier and Bosch technologies and combinations of those processes with high-temperature co-electrolysis. The cases of constant CO2 supply and constant O2 production were evaluated. In addition, a process model of the hydrogenation process with co-electrolysis was developed and compared. Sabatier processes require the least amount of energy input per kg of oxygen produced. If co-electrolysis replaces solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) electrolysis within the Sabatier architecture, the power requirement is reduced by over 10%, but only if heat recuperation is used. Sabatier processes, however, require external water to achieve the lower power results. Under conditions of constant incoming carbon dioxide flow, the Sabatier architectures require more power than the other architectures. The Bosch, Boudouard with co-electrolysis, and the hydrogenation with co-electrolysis processes require little or no external water. The Bosch and hydrogenation processes produce water within their reactors, which aids in reducing the power requirement for electrolysis. The Boudouard with co-electrolysis process has a higher electrolysis power requirement because carbon dioxide is split instead of water, which has a lower heat of formation. Hydrogenation with co-electrolysis offers the best overall power performance for two reasons: it requires no external water, and it produces its own water, which reduces the power requirement for co-electrolysis.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-10-19726
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/989895 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 989895
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1013818

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  • March 1, 2010

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 3, 2017, 5:20 p.m.

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McKellar, Michael G.; Sohal, Manohar S.; Mulloth, Lila; Luna, Bernadette & Abney, Morgan B. Mathematical Analysis of High-Temperature Co-electrolysis of CO2 and O2 Production in a Closed-Loop Atmosphere Revitalization System, report, March 1, 2010; Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1013818/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.