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ECS Pacific Northwest Section: Electrochemical processing at intermediate temperatures (400-600C)

June 24, 2021
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Widely available distributed feedstocks (e.g., steam, natural gas/natural gas liquids, CO2, and nitrogen) and the development of industrial electrification have opened numerous research opportunities for process-intensified production of fuels and chemicals, which could potentially address both environmental concerns and energy challenges. Electrochemical processing at intermediate temperatures through solid oxide cells/ceramic membrane reactors is a promising approach with the following advantages. It can circumvent disadvantages from low-temperature and high-temperature electrocatalysis, effectively overcoming the use of precious metal catalysts from the former and mitigating the fast degradation of the latter. Furthermore, modular units can be readily integrated with renewable energy or nuclear energy resources. When changing the operating potentials and temperatures, product selectivity can be controlled. Unfortunately, the primary limiting factors to broad commercialization of these technologies is their low efficiency and poor economic competitiveness. To address these challenges requires continuous innovation of materials/structure and fabrication processes—the precise objective of Dr. Ding’s team at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Using their technical experience, capability, and scientific approach, they envision developing new processes via intermediate temperature electrochemical processes, which could be integrated with nuclear and renewable energy for a clean and secure energy future. Dr. Ding will provide several specific cases of electrochemical processing using solid oxide electrochemical cells. 

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