An experimental study is under way to assess the performance of electrode-supported 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 single cells, with an active area of 16 cm2 per cell. The electrolysis cells are electrode-supported, with yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolytes (∼10 μm thick), nickel-YSZ steam/hydrogen electrodes (∼1400 μm thick), and manganite (LSM) air-side electrodes. The experiments were performed over a range of steam inlet mole fractions (0.1–0.6), gas flow rates, and current densities (0 to 0.6 A/cm2). Steam consumption rates associated with electrolysis were measured directly using inlet and outlet dewpoint instrumentation. On a molar basis, the steam consumption rate is equal to the hydrogen production rate. Cell performance was evaluated by performing DC potential sweeps at 800, 850, and 900°C. The voltage-current characteristics are presented, along with values of area-specific resistance as a function of current density. Long-term cell performance is also assessed to evaluate cell degradation. Details of the custom single-cell test apparatus developed for these experiments are also presented.

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