THE EFFECT OF ANOLYTE PRODUCT ACID CONCENTRATION ON HYBRID SULFUR CYCLE PERFORMANCE

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The Hybrid Sulfur (HyS) cycle (Fig. 1) is one of the simplest, all-fluids thermochemical cycles that has been devised for splitting water with a high-temperature nuclear or solar heat source. It was originally patented by Brecher and Wu in 1975 and extensively developed by Westinghouse in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As its name suggests, the only element used besides hydrogen and oxygen is sulfur, which is cycled between the +4 and +6 oxidation states. HyS comprises two steps. One is the thermochemical (>800 C) decomposition of sulfuric acid (H{sub 2}SO{sub 4}) to sulfur dioxide (SO{sub 2}), oxygen (O{sub ... continued below

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Gorensek, M. & Summers, W. March 24, 2010.

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The Hybrid Sulfur (HyS) cycle (Fig. 1) is one of the simplest, all-fluids thermochemical cycles that has been devised for splitting water with a high-temperature nuclear or solar heat source. It was originally patented by Brecher and Wu in 1975 and extensively developed by Westinghouse in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As its name suggests, the only element used besides hydrogen and oxygen is sulfur, which is cycled between the +4 and +6 oxidation states. HyS comprises two steps. One is the thermochemical (>800 C) decomposition of sulfuric acid (H{sub 2}SO{sub 4}) to sulfur dioxide (SO{sub 2}), oxygen (O{sub 2}), and water. H{sub 2}SO{sub 4} = SO{sub 2} + 1/2 O{sub 2} + H{sub 2}O. The other is the SO{sub 2}-depolarized electrolysis of water to H{sub 2}SO{sub 4} and hydrogen (H{sub 2}), SO{sub 2} + 2 H{sub 2}O = H{sub 2}SO{sub 4} + H{sub 2}, E{sup o} = -0.156 V, explaining the 'hybrid' designation. These two steps taken together split water into H{sub 2} and O{sub 2} using heat and electricity. Researchers at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and at the University of South Carolina (USC) have successfully demonstrated the use of proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers (Fig. 2) for the SO{sub 2}-depolarized electrolysis (sulfur oxidation) step, while Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) successfully demonstrated the high-temperature sulfuric acid decomposition (sulfur reduction) step using a bayonet-type reactor (Fig. 3). This latter work was performed as part of the Sulfur-Iodine (SI) cycle Integrated Laboratory Scale demonstration at General Atomics (GA). The combination of these two operations results in a simple process that will be more efficient and cost-effective for the massive production of hydrogen than alkaline electrolysis. Recent developments suggest that the use of PEMs other than Nafion will allow sulfuric acid to be produced at higher concentrations (>60 wt%), offering the possibility of net thermal efficiencies around 50% (HHV basis). The effect of operation at higher anolyte concentrations on the flowsheet, and on the net thermal efficiency for a nuclear-heated HyS process, is examined and quantified.

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  • Report No.: SRNL-STI-2010-00193
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-08SR22470
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 974331
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc926689

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  • March 24, 2010

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 11:18 p.m.

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Gorensek, M. & Summers, W. THE EFFECT OF ANOLYTE PRODUCT ACID CONCENTRATION ON HYBRID SULFUR CYCLE PERFORMANCE, article, March 24, 2010; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc926689/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.