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The main goal of ELECTRA is to design, build, and test a kW size multi-tubular proton ceramic high temperature electrolyser for production of hydrogen from steam and renewable energy.

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Sub goals:

  • Develop efficient and stable oxygen side electrodes with integrated current collection
  • Develop segmented-in-series proton ceramic tubular cells
  • Design and test a system for mounting, contacting, monitoring, closing, and replacing each tube in a single tube unit.
  • Design and build a multi-tubular module with its necessary periphericals for heat, steam, gas, and electrical management.
  • Test the multi-tubular unit for production of 250 L/h hydrogen.
  • Test the single tube unit in co-ionic co-electrolysis mode for production syngas and DME from CO2 and steam.
  • Analyse the use of PCEC modules for hydrogen production and CO2 co-electrolysis from sources of steam, CO2, and renewable energy.

High temperature electrolysers (HTEs) produce H2 efficiently utilising electricity from renewable sources and steam from solar, geothermal, or nuclear plants. CO2 can be co-electrolysed to produce syngas and fuels. The traditional solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) leaves wet H2 at the steam side. ELECTRA in contrast develops a proton ceramic electrolyser cell (PCEC) which pumps out and pressurises dry H2 directly. Delamination of electrodes due to O2 bubbles in SOECs is alleviated in PCECs. The proton conductor is based on state-of-the-art Y:BaZrO3 (BZY) using reactive sintering for dense large-grained films, low grain boundary resistance, and high stability and mechanical strength. A PCEC can favourably reduce CO2 to syngas in co-ionic mode. Existing HTEs utilise the high packing density of planar stacks, but the hot seal and vulnerability to single cell breakdown give high stack rejection rate and questionable durability and lifetime economy. ELECTRA uses instead tubular segmented cells, mounted in a novel module with cold seals that allows monitoring and replacement of individual tubes from the cold side. The tubes are developed along 3 design generations with increasing efforts and rewards towards electrochemical performance and sustainable mass scale production. Electrodes and electrolyte are applied using spraying/dipping and a novel solid state reactive sintering approach, facilitating sintering of BZY materials. ELECTRA emphasises development of H2O-O2 anode and its current collection. It will show a kW-size multi-tube module producing 250 L/h H2 and CO2 to syngas co-electrolysis with DME production. Partners excel in ceramic proton conductors, industry-scale ceramics, tubular electrochemical cells, and integration of these in renewable energy schemes including geothermal, wind and solar power.

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Key Factors

Project duration

03/03/2014 - 03/02/2017

Prof. Truls Norby, UiO

Prof. Truls Norby (UiO), Per Kristian Vestre (Protia), Jose M Serra (CSIC), Ana Casado Carrillo (AH), Omar Sigurbjörnsson (CRI) Delphine maury (Marion Technology)