The importance of fuel variability on the performance of solid oxide cells operating on H2/CO2 mixtures from biohydrogen processes

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Abstract

Biologically produced mixtures of H2 and CO2 (biohydrogen) from processes such as dark fermentation or photo-fermentation are versatile feedstocks which can potentially be utilised in solid oxide cell (SOC) devices. In this work, solid oxide electrolysis of biohydrogen has been investigated for the first time and is compared directly with fuel cell mode utilisation. The performance and fuel processing of SOCs utilising biohydrogen have been characterised in greater detail than has been achieved previously through the use of experiments which combine electrochemical techniques with quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS). The effects of fuel variability on SOC overpotentials and outputs have been established and it is shown that cell performance is not significantly affected provided the fuel composition stays within 40-60 vol% H2. QMS measurements indicate H2O and CO production takes place in-situ via the reverse water-gas shift (RWGS) reaction. Electrical power production in fuel cell mode is predominantly through H2 oxidation, whilst CO is converted in the WGS reaction to regenerate CO2 but does not contribute to electrical power production. In electrolysis mode, CO is produced simultaneously through electrochemical CO2 reduction and the RWGS reaction; H2O is electrochemically reduced to regenerate H2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8972-8982
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume43
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Biohydrogen
  • Fuel processing
  • Fuel variability
  • Reverse water gas shift
  • Solid oxide electrolysis
  • Solid oxide fuel cell

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