This paper presents results of recent experiments on simultaneous high-temperature electrolysis (coelectrolysis) of steam and carbon dioxide using solid-oxide electrolysis cells. Coelectrolysis is complicated by the fact that the reverse shift reaction occurs concurrently with the electrolytic reduction reactions. All reactions must be properly accounted for when evaluating results. Electrochemical performance of the button cells and stacks was evaluated over a range of temperatures, compositions, and flow rates. The apparatus used for these tests is heavily instrumented, with precision mass-flow controllers, online dewpoint and CO2 sensors, and numerous pressure and temperature measurement stations. It also includes a gas chromatograph for analyzing outlet gas compositions. Comparisons of measured compositions to predictions obtained from a chemical equilibrium coelectrolysis model are presented, along with corresponding polarization curves. Results indicate excellent agreement between predicted and measured outlet compositions. Cell area-specific resistance values were found to be similar for steam electrolysis and coelectrolysis. Coelectrolysis significantly increases the yield of syngas over the reverse water gas shift-reaction equilibrium composition. The process appears to be a promising technique for large-scale syngas production.

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