High-temperature (700–900 °C) steam electrolysis based on solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) is valuable as an efficient and clean path for large-scale hydrogen production with nearly zero carbon emissions, compared with the traditional paths of steam methane reforming or coal gasification. The operation parameters, in particular the feeding gas composition and pressure, significantly affect the performance of the electrolysis cell. In this study, a computational fluid dynamics model of an SOEC is built to predict the electrochemical performance of the cell with different sweep gases on the oxygen electrode. Sweep gases with different oxygen partial pressures between 1.01 × 103 and 1.0 × 105 Pa are fed to the oxygen electrode of the cell, and the influence of the oxygen partial pressure on the chemical equilibrium and kinetic reactions of the SOECs is analyzed. It is shown that the rate of increase of the reversible potential is inversely proportional to the oxygen partial pressure. Regarding the overpotentials caused by the ohmic, activation, and concentration polarization, the results vary with the reversible potential. The Ohmic overpotential is constant under different operating conditions. The activation and concentration overpotentials at the hydrogen electrode are also steady over the entire oxygen partial pressure range. The oxygen partial pressure has the largest effect on the activation and concentration overpotentials on the oxygen electrode side, both of which decrease sharply with increasing oxygen partial pressure. Owing to the combined effects of the reversible potential and polarization overpotentials, the total electrolysis voltage is nonlinear. At low current density, the electrolysis cell shows better performance at low oxygen partial pressure, whereas the performance improves with increasing oxygen partial pressure at high current density. Thus, at low current density, the best sweep gas should be an oxygen-deficient gas such as nitrogen, CO2, or steam. Steam is the most promising bec
Acta Physico-Chimica Sinica
Solid oxide electrolysis cell
Oxygen partial pressure
Computational fluid dynamics
Corresponding author.王建强 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;Tel.:+86-21-39194051.