Development of a diffuse reflectance infrared fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) cell for the in situ analysis of co-electrolysis in a solid oxide cell
Co-electrolysis of carbon dioxide and steam has been shown to be an efficient way to produce syngas, however further optimisation requires detailed understanding of the complex reactions, transport processes and degradation mechanisms occurring in the solid oxide cell (SOC) during operation. Whilst electrochemical measurements are currently conducted in situ, many analytical techniques can only be used ex situ and may even be destructive to the cell (e.g. SEM imaging of the microstructure). In order to fully understand and characterise co-electrolysis, in situ monitoring of the reactants, products and SOC is necessary. Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS) is ideal for in situ monitoring of co-electrolysis as both gaseous and adsorbed CO and CO2 species can be detected, however it has previously not been used for this purpose. The challenges of designing an experimental rig which allows optical access alongside electrochemical measurements at high temperature and operates in a dual atmosphere are discussed. The rig developed has thus far been used for symmetric cell testing at temperatures from 450 °C to 600 °C. Under a CO atmosphere, significant changes in spectra were observed even over a simple Au|10Sc1CeSZ|Au SOC. The changes relate to a combination of CO oxidation, the water gas shift reaction, carbonate formation and decomposition processes, with the dominant process being both potential and temperature dependent.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Solid Oxide Electrolysis: Fuels and Feedstocks from Water and Air