Technical evaluation of the copper chloride water splitting cycle
The global energy sector is facing a crisis caused by the increasing demand for energy. Non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels produce greenhouse gases that are largely blamed for climate change. The Kyoto protocol requires industrialised nations to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen as an alternative fuel can serve as a substitute. Hydrogen production is expensive and the gas is largely derived from fossil fuels by a process that releases large quantities of greenhouse gases. In South Africa work on hydrogen production was first done on the Hybrid Sulphur cycle. The high operating temperature and highly corrosive environment involved in the process makes this cycle difficult to work with. The copper-chloride cycle has a lower operating temperature and uses less corrosive materials, making the cycle potentially more economical. Evaluation of the cycle started with the development of four models: the Base model, the Canadian model (developed in Canada) the Kemp model and the Excess model. The Kemp model has the best overall efficiency of 40.89 %, producing hydrogen at a cost of US$4.48/kg. The model does not however provide the excess steam required for the cycle. The Excess model which is based on the Kemp model does provide the excess steam and produces an overall efficiency of 39 % and hydrogen at a cost of US$4.60/kg. The copper-chloride cycle has an improved efficiency and produces hydrogen at a lower cost when compared to the hybrid sulphur cycle. The final conclusion of this thesis is that the copper-chloride cycle should be investigated further and an expected capital and operational costs estimate should be developed to obtain more accurate figures.
- Engineering