A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model has been created to model high-temperature steam electrolysis in a planar solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC). The model represents a single cell, as it would exist in an electrolysis stack. Details of the model geometry are specific to a stack that was fabricated by Ceramatec, Inc. and tested at the Idaho National Laboratory. Mass, momentum, energy, and species conservation and transport are provided via the core features of the commercial CFD code FLUENT. A solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) model adds the electrochemical reactions and loss mechanisms and computation of the electric field throughout the cell. The FLUENT SOFC user-defined subroutine was modified for this work to allow for operation in the SOEC mode. Model results provide detailed profiles of temperature, Nernst potential, operating potential, anode-side gas composition, cathode-side gas composition, current density and hydrogen production over a range of stack operating conditions. Mean model results are shown to compare favorably with experimental results obtained from an actual ten-cell stack tested at INL.

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