An experimental study is under way to assess the performance of solid-oxide cells operating in the steam electrolysis mode for hydrogen production over a temperature range of 800 to 900°C. Results presented in this paper were obtained from a ten-cell planar electrolysis stack, with an active area of 64 cm2 per cell. The electrolysis cells are electrolyte-supported, with scandia-stabilized zirconia electrolytes (∼140 μm thick), nickel-cermet steam/hydrogen electrodes, and manganite air-side electrodes. The metallic interconnect plates are fabricated from ferritic stainless steel. The experiments were performed over a range of steam inlet mole fractions (0.1–0.6), gas flow rates (1000–4000 sccm), and current densities (0 to 0.38 A/cm2). Steam consumption rates associated with electrolysis were measured directly using inlet and outlet dewpoint instrumentation. Cell operating potentials and cell current were varied using a programmable power supply. Hydrogen production rates up to 100 Normal liters per hour were demonstrated. Values of area-specific resistance and stack internal temperatures are presented as a function of current density. Stack performance is shown to be dependent on inlet steam flow rate.

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