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Issue 3, 2017
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Evaluation of flow schemes for near-neutral pH electrolytes in solar-fuel generators

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Abstract

The electrochemical performance of three different types of membrane-containing electrolyte-flow schemes for solar-driven water splitting has been studied quantitatively using 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional multi-physics models. The three schemes include a recirculation scheme with a well-mixed bulk electrolyte, a recirculation scheme with laminar flow fields, and a fresh-feed scheme with laminar flow fields. The Nernstian potential loss associated with pH gradients at the electrode surfaces, the resistive loss between the cathode and anode, the product-gas crossovers, and the required pumping energy in all three schemes have been evaluated as a function of the operational current density, the flow rates for the electrolyte, and the physical dimensions of the devices. The trade-offs in the voltage loss, safety considerations, and energy inputs from the balance-of-systems required to produce a practical device have been evaluated and compared to membrane-free devices as well as to devices that operate at extreme pH values.

Graphical abstract: Evaluation of flow schemes for near-neutral pH electrolytes in solar-fuel generators

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
01 Feb 2017
Accepted
23 Feb 2017
First published
23 Feb 2017

Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2017,1, 458-466
Article type
Paper

Evaluation of flow schemes for near-neutral pH electrolytes in solar-fuel generators

M. R. Singh, C. Xiang and N. S. Lewis, Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2017, 1, 458
DOI: 10.1039/C7SE00062F

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