Upscaling of a sulphur dioxide depolarized electrolyzer
Coetzee, Morné Pieter
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In the last couple of years there has been a great need for finding alternative, cleaner burning fuel sources. This search has led to the development of various hydrogen technologies. The reason for this is that when burnt, hydrogen gas only forms water and oxygen as products. One of the methods used in the production of hydrogen gas is that of the electrolysis of sulphur dioxide which is facilitated by a sulphur dioxide depolarized electrolyzer. The electrolysis of sulphur dioxide has the advantage of requiring lower cell voltages in the electrolysis process when compared to the electrolysis of water. This type of electrolyzer unfortunately suffers from low hydrogen gas production volumes. It was thought that by linearly increasing the reactions active area of the electrolyzer, the production volumes can be increased. A linearly upscaled 100cm2 cell was designed by using computer aided design software, such as SolidWorks, Cambridge Engineering Selector, EES and ANSYS. The cell was then constructed and tested to determine the effects of linearly upscaling. The results of the 100cm2 cell were compared to the results of a similar 25cm2 cell and results obtained from the literature. The 100cm2 cell exhibited very poor performance when compared to the other cells. The 100cm2 cell showed lower hydrogen production volumes at higher energy inputs than the 25cm2 cell and an 86cm2 stack assembly. It was concluded that creating stack assemblies with cells with smaller active areas would be much more efficient than linearly upscaling the active area of the cells.
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