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Numerical investigations on ethanol electrolysis for production of pure hydrogen from renewable sources

Ehteshami, S. Mohsen Mousavi, Vignesh, S., Rasheed, R.K.A., Chan, S.H.
Applied energy 2016 v.170 pp. 388-393
electrochemistry, electrolysis, electrolytes, energy efficiency, ethanol, fuel cells, hydrogen, mathematical models, natural gas, polymers, temperature
Hydrogen and fuel cells have the potential to play a significant role in the energy-mix network and providing a more sustainable future. Hydrogen is mainly produced from steam-reforming of natural gas and water electrolysis. However, it is suspected that the production of hydrogen through the electrolysis of ethanol is more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly. In this study, to gain a good insight of ethanol electrolysis process, we have investigated the ethanol electrolysis in a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) reactor numerically. A two-dimensional, isothermal, and single phase ethanol electrolyzer numerical model, taking into account the transport phenomena and electrochemical reactions, has been developed for such purpose. Besides, a systematic parametric study is carried out to elucidate the effect of operating temperature, flow rate and the thickness of the membrane on the performance of the electrolytic cell. A reasonable agreement is found between the numerical data and the experimental results available in the literature indicating the predictive capability of the model.