Evaluation of flow schemes for near-neutral pH electrolytes in solar-fuel generators

Meenesh R. Singh, Chengxiang Xiang, Nathan S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The electrochemical performance of three different types of membrane-containing electrolyte-flow schemes for solar-driven water splitting has been studied quantitatively using 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional multi-physics models. The three schemes include a recirculation scheme with a well-mixed bulk electrolyte, a recirculation scheme with laminar flow fields, and a fresh-feed scheme with laminar flow fields. The Nernstian potential loss associated with pH gradients at the electrode surfaces, the resistive loss between the cathode and anode, the product-gas crossovers, and the required pumping energy in all three schemes have been evaluated as a function of the operational current density, the flow rates for the electrolyte, and the physical dimensions of the devices. The trade-offs in the voltage loss, safety considerations, and energy inputs from the balance-of-systems required to produce a practical device have been evaluated and compared to membrane-free devices as well as to devices that operate at extreme pH values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-466
Number of pages9
JournalSustainable Energy and Fuels
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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