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Compilation of CFD Models of Various Solid Oxide Electrolyzers Analyzed at the Idaho National Laboratory

Description: Various three dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of solid oxide electrolyzers have been created and analyzed at the Idaho National Laboratory since the inception of the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative in 2004. Three models presented herein include: a 60 cell planar cross flow with inlet and outlet plenums, 10 cell integrated planar cross flow, and internally manifolded five cell planar cross flow. Mass, momentum, energy, and species conservation and transport are provided via the core features of the commercial CFD code FLUENT. A solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) module adds the electrochemical reactions and loss mechanisms and computation of the electric field throughout the cell. The FLUENT SOFC user-defined subroutine was modified for this work to allow for operation in the SOEC mode. Model results provide detailed profiles of temperature, Nernst potential, operating potential, activation over-potential, anode-side gas composition, cathode-side gas composition, current density and hydrogen production over a range of stack operating conditions. Predicted mean outlet hydrogen and steam concentrations vary linearly with current density, as expected. Contour plots of local electrolyte temperature, current density, and Nernst potential indicated the effects of heat transfer, endothermic reaction, Ohmic heating, and change in local gas composition. Results are discussed for using these models in the electrolysis mode. Discussion of thermal neutral voltage, enthalpy of reaction, hydrogen production is reported herein. Contour plots and discussion show areas of likely cell degradation, flow distribution in inlet plenum, and flow distribution across and along the flow channels of the current collectors
Date: June 1, 2012
Creator: Hawkes, Grant & O'Brien, James
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High Temperature Electrolysis Pressurized Experiment Design, Operation, and Results

Description: 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 ...
Date: September 1, 2012
Creator: O'Brien, J.E.; Zhang, X.; Housley, G.K.; DeWall, K. & Moore-McAteer, L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bio-Fuel Production Assisted with High Temperature Steam Electrolysis

Description: Two hybrid energy processes that enable production of synthetic liquid fuels that are compatible with the existing conventional liquid transportation fuels infrastructure are presented. Using biomass as a renewable carbon source, and supplemental hydrogen from high-temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE), these two hybrid energy processes have the potential to provide a significant alternative petroleum source that could reduce dependence on imported oil. The first process discusses a hydropyrolysis unit with hydrogen addition from HTSE. Non-food biomass is pyrolyzed and converted to pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil is upgraded with hydrogen addition from HTSE. This addition of hydrogen deoxygenates the pyrolysis oil and increases the pH to a tolerable level for transportation. The final product is synthetic crude that could then be transported to a refinery and input into the already used transportation fuel infrastructure. The second process discusses a process named Bio-Syntrolysis. The Bio-Syntrolysis process combines hydrogen from HTSE with CO from an oxygen-blown biomass gasifier that yields syngas to be used as a feedstock for synthesis of liquid synthetic crude. Conversion of syngas to liquid synthetic crude, using a biomass-based carbon source, expands the application of renewable energy beyond the grid to include transportation fuels. It can also contribute to grid stability associated with non-dispatchable power generation. The use of supplemental hydrogen from HTSE enables greater than 90% utilization of the biomass carbon content which is about 2.5 times higher than carbon utilization associated with traditional cellulosic ethanol production. If the electrical power source needed for HTSE is based on nuclear or renewable energy, the process is carbon neutral. INL has demonstrated improved biomass processing prior to gasification. Recyclable biomass in the form of crop residue or energy crops would serve as the feedstock for this process. A process model of syngas production using high temperature electrolysis and biomass gasification ...
Date: June 1, 2012
Creator: Hawkes, Grant; O'Brien, James & McKellar, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Systems Engineering Provides Successful High Temperature Steam Electrolysis Project

Description: This paper describes two Systems Engineering Studies completed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to support development of the High Temperature Stream Electrolysis (HTSE) process. HTSE produces hydrogen from water using nuclear power and was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) for integration with the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). The first study was a reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM) analysis to identify critical areas for technology development based on available information regarding expected component performance. An HTSE process baseline flowsheet at commercial scale was used as a basis. The NGNP project also established a process and capability to perform future RAM analyses. The analysis identified which components had the greatest impact on HTSE process availability and indicated that the HTSE process could achieve over 90% availability. The second study developed a series of life-cycle cost estimates for the various scale-ups required to demonstrate the HTSE process. Both studies were useful in identifying near- and long-term efforts necessary for successful HTSE process deployment. The size of demonstrations to support scale-up was refined, which is essential to estimate near- and long-term cost and schedule. The life-cycle funding profile, with high-level allocations, was identified as the program transitions from experiment scale R&D to engineering scale demonstration.
Date: June 1, 2011
Creator: Park, Charles V. & Emmanuel Ohene Opare, Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Modeling Degradation in Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells - Volume II

Description: Idaho National Laboratory has an ongoing project to generate hydrogen from steam using solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs). To accomplish this, technical and degradation issues associated with the SOECs will need to be addressed. This report covers various approaches being pursued to model degradation issues in SOECs. An electrochemical model for degradation of SOECs is presented. The model is based on concepts in local thermodynamic equilibrium in systems otherwise in global thermodynamic non-equilibrium. It is shown that electronic conduction through the electrolyte, however small, must be taken into account for determining local oxygen chemical potential,, within the electrolyte. The within the electrolyte may lie out of bounds in relation to values at the electrodes in the electrolyzer mode. Under certain conditions, high pressures can develop in the electrolyte just near the oxygen electrode/electrolyte interface, leading to oxygen electrode delamination. These predictions are in accordance with the reported literature on the subject. Development of high pressures may be avoided by introducing some electronic conduction in the electrolyte. By combining equilibrium thermodynamics, non-equilibrium (diffusion) modeling, and first-principles, atomic scale calculations were performed to understand the degradation mechanisms and provide practical recommendations on how to inhibit and/or completely mitigate them.
Date: September 1, 2011
Creator: Motwani, Manohar
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High Temperature Electrolysis for Hydrogen Production from Nuclear Energy – TechnologySummary

Description: The Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, has requested that a Hydrogen Technology Down-Selection be performed to identify the hydrogen production technology that has the best potential for timely commercial demonstration and for ultimate deployment with the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). An Independent Review Team has been assembled to execute the down-selection. This report has been prepared to provide the members of the Independent Review Team with detailed background information on the High Temperature Electrolysis (HTE) process, hardware, and state of the art. The Idaho National Laboratory has been serving as the lead lab for HTE research and development under the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative. The INL HTE program has included small-scale experiments, detailed computational modeling, system modeling, and technology demonstration. Aspects of all of these activities are included in this report. In terms of technology demonstration, the INL successfully completed a 1000-hour test of the HTE Integrated Laboratory Scale (ILS) technology demonstration experiment during the fall of 2008. The HTE ILS achieved a hydrogen production rate in excess of 5.7 Nm3/hr, with a power consumption of 18 kW. This hydrogen production rate is far larger than has been demonstrated by any of the thermochemical or hybrid processes to date.
Date: February 1, 2010
Creator: O'Brien, J. E.; Stoots, C. M.; Herring, J. S.; McKellar, M. G.; Harvego, E. A.; Sohal, M. S. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Advanced Cell Development and Degradation Studies

Description: The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has been researching the application of solid-oxide electrolysis cells for large-scale hydrogen production from steam over a temperature range of 800 to 900ºC. From 2003 – 2009, this work was sponsored by the DOE Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI). Starting in 2010, the HTE research program has been sponsored by the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) program. HTSE research priorities in FY10 are centered on understanding and reducing cell and stack performance degradation to an acceptable level to advance the technology readiness level of HTSE and to justify further large-scale demonstration activities. This report provides a summary of our FY10 experimental program, which has been focused on advanced cell and stack development and degradation studies. Advanced cell and stack development activities are under way at five technology partners: MSRI, Versa Power, Ceramatec, NASA Glenn, and St. Gobain. Performance evaluation of the advanced technology cells and stacks has been performed by the technology partners, by MIT and the University of Connecticut and at the INL HTE Laboratory. Summaries of these development activities and test results are presented.
Date: September 1, 2010
Creator: O'Brien, J. E.; Stoots, C. M.; Herring, J. S.; O'Brien, R. C.; Condie, K. G.; Sohal, M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

LIQUID BIO-FUEL PRODUCTION FROM NON-FOOD BIOMASS VIA HIGH TEMPERATURE STEAM ELECTROLYSIS

Description: Bio-Syntrolysis is a hybrid energy process that enables production of synthetic liquid fuels that are compatible with the existing conventional liquid transportation fuels infrastructure. Using biomass as a renewable carbon source, and supplemental hydrogen from high-temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE), bio-syntrolysis has the potential to provide a significant alternative petroleum source that could reduce US dependence on imported oil. Combining hydrogen from HTSE with CO from an oxygen-blown biomass gasifier yields syngas to be used as a feedstock for synthesis of liquid transportation fuels via a Fischer-Tropsch process. Conversion of syngas to liquid hydrocarbon fuels, using a biomass-based carbon source, expands the application of renewable energy beyond the grid to include transportation fuels. It can also contribute to grid stability associated with non-dispatchable power generation. The use of supplemental hydrogen from HTSE enables greater than 90% utilization of the biomass carbon content which is about 2.5 times higher than carbon utilization associated with traditional cellulosic ethanol production. If the electrical power source needed for HTSE is based on nuclear or renewable energy, the process is carbon neutral. INL has demonstrated improved biomass processing prior to gasification. Recyclable biomass in the form of crop residue or energy crops would serve as the feedstock for this process. A process model of syngas production using high temperature electrolysis and biomass gasification is presented. Process heat from the biomass gasifier is used to heat steam for the hydrogen production via the high temperature steam electrolysis process. Oxygen produced form the electrolysis process is used to control the oxidation rate in the oxygen-blown biomass gasifier. Based on the gasifier temperature, 94% to 95% of the carbon in the biomass becomes carbon monoxide in the syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen). Assuming the thermal efficiency of the power cycle for electricity generation is 50%, (as expected from GEN ...
Date: November 1, 2011
Creator: Hawkes, G. L.; O'Brien, J. E. & McKellar, M. G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

THE PRODUCTION OF SYNGAS VIA HIGH TEMPERATURE ELECTROLYSIS AND BIO-MASS GASIFICATION

Description: A process model of syngas production using high temperature electrolysis and biomass gasification is presented. Process heat from the biomass gasifier is used to improve the hydrogen production efficiency of the steam electrolysis process. Hydrogen from electrolysis allows a high utilization of the biomass carbon for syngas production. Based on the gasifier temperature, 94% to 95% of the carbon in the biomass becomes carbon monoxide in the syngas (carbon dioxide and hydrogen). Assuming the thermal efficiency of the power cycle for electricity generation is 50%, (as expected from GEN IV nuclear reactors), the syngas production efficiency ranges from 70% to 73% as the gasifier temperature decreases from 1900 K to 1500 K.
Date: November 1, 2008
Creator: McKellar, M. G.; Hawkes, G. L. & O'Brien, J. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Liquid Fuel Production from Biomass via High Temperature Steam Electrolysis

Description: A process model of syngas production using high temperature electrolysis and biomass gasification is presented. Process heat from the biomass gasifier is used to heat steam for the hydrogen production via the high temperature steam electrolysis process. Hydrogen from electrolysis allows a high utilization of the biomass carbon for syngas production. Oxygen produced form the electrolysis process is used to control the oxidation rate in the oxygen-fed biomass gasifier. Based on the gasifier temperature, 94% to 95% of the carbon in the biomass becomes carbon monoxide in the syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen). Assuming the thermal efficiency of the power cycle for electricity generation is 50%, (as expected from GEN IV nuclear reactors), the syngas production efficiency ranges from 70% to 73% as the gasifier temperature decreases from 1900 K to 1500 K. Parametric studies of system pressure, biomass moisture content and low temperature alkaline electrolysis are also presented.
Date: November 1, 2009
Creator: Hawkes, Grant L. & McKellar, Michael G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High Temperature Steam Electrolysis Materials Degradation: Preliminary Results of Corrosion Tests on Ceramatec Electrolysis Cell Components

Description: Corrosion tests were performed on stainless steel and nickel alloy coupons in H2O/H2 mixtures and dry air to simulate conditions experienced in high temperature steam electrolysis systems. The stainless steel coupons were tested bare and with one of three different proprietary coatings applied. Specimens were corroded at 850°C for 500 h with weight gain data recorded at periodic intervals. Post-test characterization of the samples included surface and cross-section scanning electron microscopy, grazing incidence x-ray diffraction, and area-specific resistance measurements. The uncoated nickel alloy outperformed the ferritic stainless steel under all test conditions based on weight gain data. Parabolic rate constants for corrosion of these two uncoated alloys were consistent with values presented in the literature under similar conditions. The steel coatings reduced corrosion rates in H2O/H2 mixtures by as much as 50% compared to the untreated steel, but in most cases showed negligible corrosion improvement in air. The use of a rare-earth-based coating on stainless steel did not result in a significantly different area specific resistance values after corrosion compared to the untreated alloy. Characterization of the samples is still in progress and the findings will be revised when the complete data set is available.
Date: June 1, 2007
Creator: Demkowicz, Paul; Sachdev, Prateek; DeWall, Kevin & Medvedev, Pavel
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Process Modeling Results of Bio-Syntrolysis: Converting Biomass to Liquid Fuel with High Temperature Steam Electrolysis

Description: A new process called Bio-Syntrolysis is being researched at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) investigating syngas production from renewable biomass that is assisted with high temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE). The INL is the world leader in researching HTSE and has recently produced hydrogen from high temperature solid oxide cells running in the electrolysis mode setting several world records along the way. A high temperature (~800°C) heat source is necessary to heat the steam as it goes into the electrolytic cells. Biomass provides the heat source and the carbon source for this process. Syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, can be used for the production of synthetic liquid fuels via Fischer-Tropsch processes. This concept, coupled with fossil-free electricity, provides a possible path to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased energy independence, without the major infrastructure shift that would be required for a purely hydrogen-based transportation system. Furthermore, since the carbon source is obtained from recyclable biomass, the entire concept is carbon-neutral
Date: June 1, 2010
Creator: Hawkes, G. L.; McKellar, M. G.; Wood, R. & Plum, M. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Insights Gained from Testing Alternate Cell Designs

Description: The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has been researching the application of solid-oxide electrolysis cell for large-scale hydrogen production from steam over a temperature range of 800 to 900ºC. The INL has been testing various solid oxide cell designs to characterize their electrolytic performance operating in the electrolysis mode for hydrogen production. Some results presented in this report were obtained from cells, initially developed by the Forschungszentrum Jülich and now manufactured by the French ceramics firm St. Gobain. These cells have an active area of 16 cm2 per cell. They were initially developed as fuel cells, but are being tested as electrolytic cells in the INL test stands. The electrolysis cells are electrode-supported, with ~10 µm thick yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolytes, ~1400 µm thick nickel-YSZ steam-hydrogen electrodes, and manganite (LSM) air-oxygen electrodes. The experiments were performed over a range of steam inlet mole fractions (0.1 to 0.6), gas flow rates, and current densities (0 to 0.6 A/cm2). Steam consumption rates associated with electrolysis were measured directly using inlet and outlet dewpoint instrumentation. On a molar basis, the steam consumption rate is equal to the hydrogen production rate. Cell performance was evaluated by performing DC potential sweeps at 800, 850, and 900°C. The voltage-current characteristics are presented, along with values of area-specific resistance as a function of current density. Long-term cell performance is also assessed to evaluate cell degradation. Details of the custom single-cell test apparatus developed for these experiments are also presented. NASA, in conjunction with the University of Toledo, has developed another fuel cell concept with the goals of reduced weight and high power density. The NASA cell is structurally symmetrical, with both electrodes supporting the thin electrolyte and containing micro-channels for gas diffusion. This configuration is called a bi-electrode supported cell or BSC. The electrodes are made by freeze-casting, ...
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: O'Brien, J. E.; Stoots, C. M.; Herring, J. S.; Housley, G. K.; Sohal, M. S.; Milobar, D. G. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

HYTEST Phase I Facility Commissioning and Modeling

Description: The purpose of this document is to report the first year accomplishments of two coordinated Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) projects that utilize a hybrid energy testing laboratory that couples various reactors to investigate system reactance behavior. This work is the first phase of a series of hybrid energy research and testing stations - referred to hereafter as HYTEST facilities – that are planned for construction and operation at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). A HYTEST Phase I facility was set up and commissioned in Bay 9 of the Bonneville County Technology Center (BCTC). The purpose of this facility is to utilize the hydrogen and oxygen that is produced by the High Temperature Steam Electrolysis test reactors operating in Bay 9 to support the investigation of kinetic phenomena and transient response of integrated reactor components. This facility provides a convenient scale for conducting scoping tests of new reaction concepts, materials performance, new instruments, and real-time data collection and manipulation for advance process controls. An enclosed reactor module was assembled and connected to a new ventilation system equipped with a variable-speed exhaust blower to mitigate hazardous gas exposures, as well as contract with hot surfaces. The module was equipped with a hydrogen gas pump and receiver tank to supply high quality hydrogen to chemical reactors located in the hood.
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Shunn, Lee P.; Boardman, Richard D.; Cherry, Shane J. & Rieger, Craig G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department