Research Papers: Micro/Nanoscale Heat Transfer

A Photoelectrochemical Model of Proton Exchange Water Electrolysis for Hydrogen Production

[+] Author and Article Information
Jianhu Nie, Yitung Chen, Robert F. Boehm, Shanthi Katukota

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154

J. Heat Transfer 130(4), 042409 (Mar 18, 2008) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2789722 History: Received January 26, 2007; Revised March 28, 2007; Published March 18, 2008

A photoelectrochemical model for hydrogen production from water electrolysis using proton exchange membrane is proposed based on Butler-Volmer kinetics for electrodes and transport resistance in the polymer electrolyte. An equivalent electrical circuit analogy is proposed for the sequential kinetic and transport resistances. The model provides a relation between the applied terminal voltage of electrolysis cell and the current density in terms of Nernst potential, exchange current densities, and conductivity of polymer electrolyte. Effects of temperature on the voltage, power supply, and hydrogen production are examined with the developed model. Increasing temperature will reduce the required power supply and increase the hydrogen production. An increase of about 11% is achieved by varying the temperature from 30°Cto80°C. The required power supply decreases as the illumination intensity becomes greater. The power supply due to the cathode overpotential does not change too much with the illumination intensity. Effects of the illumination intensity can be observed as the current density is relatively small for the examined illumination intensities.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 4

Effects of temperature on the voltages of the water electrolysis cell

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Figure 1

Schematic of the PEM solar electrolyzer

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Figure 2

Equivalent circuit for the solar water electrolysis process

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Figure 3

Comparisons of the computed results with the measured data

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Figure 5

Effects of temperature on differential resistances for water electrolysis

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Figure 6

Effects of temperature on required power supply for water electrolysis

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Figure 7

Effects of temperature on hydrogen production rate

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Figure 8

Effects of illumination intensity on voltage-current density curve

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Figure 9

Effects of illumination intensity on electrode overpotentials

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Figure 10

Effects of illumination intensity on hydrogen production rate



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