Image icon  Hydrogen from solid oxide fuel cells.

 
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Description: This image shows INL's nuclear engineer Steven Herring holding a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). In fuel cells, hydrogen and oxygen are combined electro-chemically to produce water, and in the process, heat and electricity. INL pioneered the technology, which reverses the process - using SOFCs to split water into hydrogen and oxygen while consuming electricity and heat, with the SOFC unit operated in reverse as an electrolyzer. The overall efficiency of electrolysis is increased considerably by performing it at high temperatures. A new generation of nuclear reactor, the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR), will eventually supply both electricity and high temperature heat to the electrolyzer. Greater efficiency is realized as a significant fraction of the energy input to the electrolyzer is supplied as thermal rather than electrical energy.
Keywords: high-temperature electrolysis • electrolyzer • hydrogen • oxygen • fuel cell • solid oxide fuel cell • SOFC • very high temperature reactor • image
Categories: Applications > Energy > Nuclear energy
Applications > Energy > Renewable energy
Created by: Idaho National Laboratory
Contributions: Steven Herring, Idaho National Laboratory
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Date created: 17 September 2008
Date added: 13 April 2011
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Resource ID: 3627