A successful start of 200-kW SOEC system developed by SINAP

On Feb. 26, 2023, the 200-kW high temperature steam electrolysis system using solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) as a hydrogen production demonstration device was successfully startedwhich is developed by Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SINAP, CAS). The electrolysis power is up to 202 kW with hydrogen production rate of 64 Nm3/h and DC power consumption of 3.16 kWh/Nm3.H2. Moreover, the device accomplished a performance assessment of 72h continuous operation and reached all the technical indicators.

This is a significant milestone in the field of SOEC hydrogen production technology after the 20-kW SOEC system was developed by SINAP in 2019, implying that the SOEC hydrogen production technology has made a solid step forward from laboratory trial to practical application. 

Fig.1 On-site image of the 200-kW SOEC device

On Mar. 6, 2023, the technical evaluation of the system was carried out by an expert team from Institute of Electrical Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, China University of Mining and Technology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Baowu Clean Energy Co., Ltd., Shandong Energy Group and SINAP. The test outline for the evaluation was reviewed and the on-site inspection and testing were conducted. It showed that the hydrogen production rate reaches 64 Nm3/h and the DC input power is 202 kW, achieving the project goal and the technical evaluation. 

Fig. 2. The expert team and HET team of SINAP

Since 2021, the Hydrogen Energy Technology(HET)Team, SINAP started the design and equipment development of the 200-kW SOEC hydrogen production device, with the support of Transformational Technologies for Clean Energy and demonstration Strategic Priority Research Program, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Science and Technology Supported Carbon Emission Peaking and Carbon Neutralization Project of the Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Action Plan. A skidding concept of highly integrated design was adopted, including electrical system, control system, utilities, high-temperature hydrogen production system, safety protection system, and hydrogen pressurization system to be beneficial for the construction, production management, and large-scale expansion. With the support of SINAP, the development team overcame all the technical challenges and COVID-19 pandemic, completed infrastructure construction and equipment preparation in Oct. 2021, initiated the device integration and installation in Mar. 2022. The intermediate delivery and the supply of water and electricity is completed in Sept. 2022 and Oct. 2022. On Feb. 26th, 2023, the 200 kW SOEC device was started and operated successfully. 

The core equipment of the system can withstand harsh climatic conditions even in hot summer and cold winter, dry and windy weather, significantly expanding the application range for the SOEC. Also, the SOEC hydrogen production technology can be coupled with nuclear energy, wind energy, and solar energy to achieve green hydrogen production, thus matching the concept of "integration and complementarity of wind energy, solar energy, nuclear power, and hydrogen" proposed by the CAS and providing key technical achievement for "dual carbon" technological innovation.

After evaluation, the SOEC device will be employed for experimental research on comprehensive utilization of nuclear power and multi-energy fusion, combining with other local clean energy facilities such as wind power and photovoltaic system.