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Pressurized co-electrolysis successfully demonstrated

​Pressure can enhance the performance of co-electrolysis without negatively affecting equipment lifespans. Researchers recently demonstrated the principle for the first time ever in a long-duration test.

Published on 10 April 2018

Producing fuels like methane, methanol, and even diesel from syngas made via the co-electrolysis of water vapor and carbon dioxide could be used to recycle the CO2 in industrial emissions. Researchers at Liten, a CEA Tech institute, recently tested the hypothesis that the performance of the process could be enhanced by adding pressure, which would eliminate the costly step of pressurizing the syngas produced.

The researchers developed and validated one of the few pieces of equipment in the world able to test a solid-oxide cell in co-electrolysis mode under pressure (3.7 bars in this case). They then investigated the benefits of adding pressure in terms of electrochemical performance. Finally, they ran a 1,600-hour test to verify the impact of pressure on the lifespan of the electrolyzer.

The results of the test revealed that, after an initial phase marked by degradation, the deterioration rate flattens out at a level similar to what is seen at atmospheric pressure. Additional tests will be completed to confirm the results. The pressure will also be increased to verify the impact on both performance and on aging of the electrolyzer core.

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