Partial Oxidation of Methane (POM) Assisted Solid Oxide Electrolysis



Reference #: 01095

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for a method of generating syngas by combining solid electrolysis with partial oxidization of methane.

Invention Description:

The subject describes a method to efficiently generate synthetic gas (syngas), a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, by combining co-electrolysis of steam and carbon dioxide with partial oxidation of methane.

Potential Applications:

Industrial applications including natural gas processing, petroleum, and fertilizer

Advantages and Benefits:

1.  Significantly increases the efficiency of producing syngas from natural gas

2.  Substantially decreases electricity demand

3.  Efficiently converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide


Solid oxide co-electrolysis cell is, in principle, a concentration cell, which performs according to the gas conditions in both electrode sides. It offers a potential way to convert surplus renewable electricity into easily transportable chemical energy by splitting H2O and CO2 into syngas (a mixture of CO and H2), which is used to produce liquid synthetic fuel.

However, current solid oxide co-electrolysis cell systems have a lot of shortcomings. The cathode (usually Ni-based material) is easily oxidized giving rise to avoidable loss of electrical and catalytic properties. Additionally, because the anode is often directly exposed to air, the oxygen gas produced during the process is routinely emitted as an exhaust thus reducing the efficiency of the system. A more efficient design that captures and reuses the oxygen could lead to higher commercial value. Furthermore, the very high oxygen pressure gradient (up to 1.0 V at 800 °C according to the Nernst equation) between the two electrodes presents another concern. Instead of the bulk of energy being used for the main process (electrolysis), it is expended overcoming the initial energy barrier (oxygen pressure gradient) resulting in low efficiency overall. The subject invention addresses these challenges.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Fanglin Chen
Yao Wang
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