Performance and degradation of solid oxide cells for steam electrolysis

Watton, James Peter William (2017). Performance and degradation of solid oxide cells for steam electrolysis. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In this thesis testing of solid oxide cells in fuel cell and electrolysis operation have been performed. Attempts to fabricate fuel cells are described, equipment for testing solid oxide electrolysis cells has been constructed and the development process for this described.
Cells of a number of different types have been tested in which initial work was performed using microtubular cells. Work on the fabrication of planar solid oxide cells is described, anode supports were prepared by pellet pressing however the application of a suitably dense electrolyte was unsuccessful which resulted in a poor cell OCV.
The initial degradation of commercial solid oxide cells has been investigated. During cyclic testing at low current density the cells were found to degrade at twice the rate in electrolysis operation compared to fuel cell operation. This leads to the conclusion that the degradation observed in electrolysis is reversible and that there is a disconnect between the electrolysis and fuel cell degradation processes.
During testing at different current densities the cells were found to undergo severe degradation when operated with very low water content supplied to the cells. The degradation was 512 mV kh\(^{−1}\) at 2.5 vol% H2O and reduced to 45mV kh\(^{−1}\) at 50 vol% H2O. Over the timescales investigated in this work and due to the reversible nature of the electrolysis degradation identifying a degradation mechanism was very difficult.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Steinberger-Wilckens, RobertUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology


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