High-performance SO2-depolarized electrolysis cell using advanced polymer electrolyte membranes

TitleHigh-performance SO2-depolarized electrolysis cell using advanced polymer electrolyte membranes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsColón-Mercado HR, Gorensek MB, Fujimoto CH, Lando AA, Meekins BH
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
KeywordsHybrid sulfur (HyS) process, Hydrogen production, Sulfonated diels-alder polyphenylene (SDAPP), Sulfur dioxide-depolarized electrolyzer (SDE), Sulfuric acid production

Three different proton conducting polymeric membrane materials (Nafion® 115, Nafion® 212, and sulfonated Diels-Alder polyphenylene [SDAPP]) were evaluated for use in SO2-depolarized electrolyzers for the production of hydrogen via the hybrid sulfur cycle. Their performance was measured using different water feed strategies to minimize overpotential losses while maintaining high product acid concentration. Both thin membranes (Nafion® 212 and SDAPP) showed performance superior to that of the thicker Nafion® 115. The SDAPP membrane electrode assembly (MEA) performed well at higher acid concentrations, maintaining low ohmic and kinetic overpotentials. Finally, short-term (100-h) stability tests under constant current conditions showed minimal degradation for the SDAPP and Nafion® 212 MEAs. SDAPP MEA performance approached the targets needed to make the hybrid sulfur cycle a competitive process for hydrogen production (product acid concentration ≥65 wt% H2SO4 at ≤ 0.6-V cell potential and ≥0.5 A-cm−2 current density).