CLOSEOUT REPORT FOR HYBRID SULFUR PRESSURIZED BUTTON CELL TEST FACILITY [electronic resource].
- Washington, D.C. : United States. Dept. of Energy, 2010. and Oak Ridge, Tenn. : Distributed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Additional Creators:
- United States. Department of Energy. Savannah River Site, United States. Department of Energy, and United States. Department of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information
- Restrictions on Access:
- Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- This document is the Close-Out Report for design and partial fabrication of the Pressurized Button Cell Test Facility at Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL). This facility was planned to help develop the sulfur dioxide depolarized electrolyzer (SDE) that is a key component of the Hybrid Sulfur Cycle for generating hydrogen. The purpose of this report is to provide as much information as possible in case the decision is made to resume research. This report satisfies DOE Milestone M3GSR10VH030107.0. The HyS Cycle is a hybrid thermochemical cycle that may be used in conjunction with advanced nuclear reactors or centralized solar receivers to produce hydrogen by watersplitting. The HyS Cycle utilizes the high temperature (>800 C) thermal decomposition of sulfuric acid to produce oxygen and regenerate sulfur dioxide. The unique aspect of HyS is the generation of hydrogen in a water electrolyzer that is operated under conditions where dissolved sulfur dioxide depolarizes the anodic reaction, resulting in substantial voltage reduction. Low cell voltage is essential for both high thermodynamic efficiency and low hydrogen cost. Sulfur dioxide is oxidized at the anode, producing sulfuric acid that is sent to the high temperature acid decomposition portion of the cycle. Sulfur dioxide from the decomposer is cycled back to electrolyzers. The electrolyzer cell uses the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) concept. Anode and cathode are formed by spraying a catalyst, typically platinized carbon, on both sides of a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM). SRNL has been testing SDEs for several years including an atmospheric pressure Button Cell electrolyzer (2 cm² active area) and an elevated temperature/pressure Single Cell electrolyzer (54.8 cm² active area). SRNL tested 37 MEAs in the Single Cell electrolyzer facility from June 2005 until June 2009, when funding was discontinued. An important result of the final months of testing was the development of a method that prevents the formation of a sulfur layer previously observed in MEAs used in the Hybrid Sulfur Cycle electrolyzer. This result is very important because the sulfur layer increased cell voltage and eventually destroyed the MEA that is the heart of the cell. Steimke and Steeper [2005, 2006, 2007, 2008] reported on testing in the Single Cell Electrolyzer test facility in several periodic reports. Steimke et. al  issued a final facility close-out report summarizing all the testing in the Single Cell Electrolyzer test facility. During early tests, significant deterioration of the membrane occurred in 10 hours or less; the latest tests ran for at least 200 hours with no sign of deterioration. Ironically, the success with the Single Cell electrolyzer meant that it became dedicated to long runs and not available for quick membrane evaluations. Early in this research period, the ambient pressure Button Cell Electrolyzer test facility was constructed to quickly evaluate membrane materials. Its small size allowed testing of newly developed membranes that typically were not available in sizes large enough to test in the Single Cell electrolyzer. The most promising membranes were tested in the Single Cell Electrolyzer as soon as sufficient large membranes could be obtained. However, since the concentration of SO₂ gas in sulfuric acid decreases rapidly with increasing temperature, the ambient pressure Button Cell was no longer able to achieve the operating conditions needed to evaluate the newer improved high temperature membranes. Significantly higher pressure operation was required to force SO₂ into the sulfuric acid to obtain meaningful concentrations at increased temperatures. A high pressure (200 psig), high temperature (120 C) Button Cell was designed and partially fabricated just before funding was discontinued in June 2009. SRNL completed the majority of the design of the test facility, including preparation of a process and instrument drawing (P&ID) and preliminary designs for t...
- Published through SciTech Connect., 09/15/2010., "srnl-sti-2010-00549", and Steeper, T.
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