A review of high temperature co-electrolysis of H2O and CO2 to produce sustainable fuels using solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs): advanced materials and technology
High-temperature solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) are advanced electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices with high conversion/energy efficiencies. They offer attractive high-temperature co-electrolysis routes that reduce extra CO2 emissions, enable large-scale energy storage/conversion and facilitate the integration of renewable energies into the electric grid. Exciting new research has focused on CO2 electrochemical activation/conversion through a co-electrolysis process based on the assumption that difficult CO double bonds can be activated effectively through this electrochemical method. Based on existing investigations, this paper puts forth a comprehensive overview of recent and past developments in co-electrolysis with SOECs for CO2 conversion and utilization. Here, we discuss in detail the approaches of CO2 conversion, the developmental history, the basic principles, the economic feasibility of CO2/H2O co-electrolysis, and the diverse range of fuel electrodes as well as oxygen electrode materials. SOEC performance measurements, characterization and simulations are classified and presented in this paper. SOEC cell and stack designs, fabrications and scale-ups are also summarized and described. In particular, insights into CO2 electrochemical conversions, solid oxide cell material behaviors and degradation mechanisms are highlighted to obtain a better understanding of the high temperature electrolysis process in SOECs. Proposed research directions are also outlined to provide guidelines for future research.