Mathematical modeling of the coupled transport and electrochemical reactions in solid oxide steam electrolyzer for hydrogen production

Meng Ni, Michael K.H. Leung, Dennis Y.C. Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


A mathematical model was developed to simulate the coupled transport/electrochemical reaction phenomena in a solid oxide steam electrolyzer (SOSE) at the micro-scale level. Ohm's law, dusty gas model (DGM), Darcy's law, and the generalized Butler Volmer equation were employed to determine the transport of electronic/ionic charges and gas species as well as the electrochemical reactions. Parametric analyses were performed to investigate the effects of operating parameters and micro-structural parameters on SOSE potential. The results substantiated the fact that SOSE potential could be effectively decreased by increasing the operating temperature. In addition, higher steam molar fraction would enhance the operation of SOSE with lower potential. The effect of particle sizes on SOSE potential was studied with due consideration on the SOSE activation and concentration overpotentials. Optimal particle sizes that could minimize the SOSE potential were obtained. It was also found that decreasing electrode porosity could monotonically decrease the SOSE potential. Besides, optimal values of volumetric fraction of electronic particles were found to minimize electrode total overpotentials. In order to optimize electrode microstructure to minimize SOSE electricity consumption, the concept of "functionally graded materials (FGM)" was introduced to lower the SOSE potential. The advanced design of particle size graded SOSE was found effective for minimizing electrical energy consumption resulting in efficient SOSE hydrogen production. The micro-scale model was capable of predicting SOSE hydrogen production performance and would be a useful tool for design optimization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6707-6718
Number of pages12
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrochemical model
  • Functionally graded materials
  • Multi-component mass transfer
  • Porous media
  • SOSE
  • Thiele modulus
  • Wagner number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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