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Power Generation Analysis of Terrestrial Ultraviolet-Assisted Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell


This paper presents a novel system design that considerably improves the entrapment of terrestrial ultraviolet (UV) irradiance in a customized honeycomb structure to produce hydrogen at a standard rate of 7.57 slpm for places with a UV index > 11. Thermolysis of high salinity water is done by employing a solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC), which comprises three customized, novel active optical subsystems to filter, track, and concentrate terrestrial UV solar irradiance by Fresnel lenses. The output of systems is fed to a desalinator, a photovoltaic system to produce electrical energy, and a steam generator with modified surface morphology to generate the required superheated steam for the SOEC. A simulation in COMSOL Multiphysics ver. 5.6 has shown that a customized honeycomb structure, when incorporated on the copper–nickel surface of a steam generator, improves its absorptance coefficient up to 93.43% (48.98%—flat case). This results in generating the required superheated steam of 650 ◦C with a designed active optical system comprising nine Fresnel lenses (7 m2 ) that offer the concentration of 36 suns on the honeycomb structure of the steam generator as input. The required 1.27 kW of electrical power is obtained by concentrating the photovoltaic system using In0.33Ga0.67N/Si/InN solar cells. This production of hydrogen is sustainable and cost effective, as the estimated cost over 5 years by the proposed system is 0.51 USD/kg, compared to the commercially available system, which costs 3.18 USD/kg.

Funding source: This study was supported in part by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Grants, EP/T517896/1.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Pakistan ; United Kingdom

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