Northwestern researchers have developed the ability to store large-scale electrical energy for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Established energy storage technologies such as hydroelectric water pumping and underground compressed air storage are limited to specific geographic sites and most batteries and ultracapacitors have limited energy storage capacities and times. This technology offers a novel set of reversible solid oxide electrochemical cell (SOEC) operating conditions and storage chemistries that can achieve higher conversion efficiencies and make them suitable for large-scale electrical energy storage. It utilizes specific C-H-O gas mixtures to minimize thermally-neutral electrolysis voltage and avoid coke-forming conditions. The pressure and temperature of the SOEC can also be optimized to achieve best performance.
1) More efficient fuel production from renewable electrical energy 2) Not limited to geographical sites 3) Improved long-term electrochemical electricity storage with up to 80% efficiencies 4) Mitigated degradation in the solid oxide electrolysis cell