High Temperature Electrolysis Pressurized Experiment Design, Operation, and Results

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A new facility has been developed at the Idaho National Laboratory for pressurized testing of solid oxide electrolysis stacks. Pressurized operation is envisioned for large-scale hydrogen production plants, yielding higher overall efficiencies when the hydrogen product is to be delivered at elevated pressure for tank storage or pipelines. Pressurized operation also supports higher mass flow rates of the process gases with smaller components. The test stand can accommodate planar cells with dimensions up to 8.5 cm x 8.5 cm and stacks of up to 25 cells. It is also suitable for testing other cell and stack geometries including tubular cells. ... continued below

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O'Brien, J.E.; Zhang, X.; Housley, G.K.; DeWall, K. & Moore-McAteer, L. September 1, 2012.

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A new facility has been developed at the Idaho National Laboratory for pressurized testing of solid oxide electrolysis stacks. Pressurized operation is envisioned for large-scale hydrogen production plants, yielding higher overall efficiencies when the hydrogen product is to be delivered at elevated pressure for tank storage or pipelines. Pressurized operation also supports higher mass flow rates of the process gases with smaller components. The test stand can accommodate planar cells with dimensions up to 8.5 cm x 8.5 cm and stacks of up to 25 cells. It is also suitable for testing other cell and stack geometries including tubular cells. The pressure boundary for these tests is a water-cooled spool-piece pressure vessel designed for operation up to 5 MPa. Pressurized operation of a ten-cell internally manifolded solid oxide electrolysis stack has been successfully demonstrated up 1.5 MPa. The stack is internally manifolded and operates in cross-flow with an inverted-U flow pattern. Feed-throughs for gas inlets/outlets, power, and instrumentation are all located in the bottom flange. The entire spool piece, with the exception of the bottom flange, can be lifted to allow access to the internal furnace and test fixture. Lifting is accomplished with a motorized threaded drive mechanism attached to a rigid structural frame. Stack mechanical compression is accomplished using springs that are located inside of the pressure boundary, but outside of the hot zone. Initial stack heatup and performance characterization occurs at ambient pressure followed by lowering and sealing of the pressure vessel and subsequent pressurization. Pressure equalization between the anode and cathode sides of the cells and the stack surroundings is ensured by combining all of the process gases downstream of the stack. Steady pressure is maintained by means of a backpressure regulator and a digital pressure controller. A full description of the pressurized test apparatus is provided in this report. Results of initial testing showed the expected increase in open-cell voltage associated with elevated pressure. However, stack performance in terms of area-specific resistance was enhanced at elevated pressure due to better gas diffusion through the porous electrodes of the cells. Some issues such as cracked cells and seals were encountered during testing. Full resolution of these issues will require additional testing to identify the optimum test configurations and protocols.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-12-26891
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/1056004 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1056004
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc829082

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • September 1, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 2:30 p.m.

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O'Brien, J.E.; Zhang, X.; Housley, G.K.; DeWall, K. & Moore-McAteer, L. High Temperature Electrolysis Pressurized Experiment Design, Operation, and Results, report, September 1, 2012; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc829082/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.