PhD Research Project: High temperature electrolysis by reversing the function of a solid oxide fuel

United Kingdom
Oct 04, 2016
Oct 31, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Electrolysis is one way of storing renewable electricity in the form of hydrogen. The process is not very efficient, loosing about 30 to 40% of the energy in the process. High temperature electrolysis promises higher efficiencies, even up to 100%, if waste heat can be contributed ‘for free’. Moreover, the temperature of reaction will allow the co-electrolysis of water and carbon dioxide, producing a syn-gas that is the raw material for producing a number of chemicals, plastics, or even methane as a ‘green’ (sustainable) natural gas substitute.

In the project BALANCE UoB will be looking into expanding previous work into high temperature electrolysis by reversing the function of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). This ‘solid oxide cell’ can operate both in fuel cell and electrolysis mode.

The PhD will convert the existing test rig to allow co-electrolysis. This will allow to produce syn-gas. The dependencies of product gas composition and conversion efficiency on operating mode and fuel feed will be a main topic of research. Further attention will be given to thermodynamical modelling of the process and identification of any conditions that might lead to carbon formation. Finally, reversible operation and the option to directly synthesise methane in the same testing setup will conclude the work.

Previous exposure to SOFC and/or electrolysis technology will be beneficial but not a condition.


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