A solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) runs in regenerative mode to achieve the electrolysis of water by using a solid oxide, or ceramic, electrolyte to produce hydrogen gas and oxygen. Electrolysis is the most promising method of hydrogen production from water. SOEC is spotlighted as an innovative technology due to its excellent hydrogen production efficiency.
SK ecoplant and Bloom Energy built a 130-kilowatt SOEC facility in Gumi, some 202 kilometers (126 miles) southeast of Seoul, after their joint venture demonstrated hydrogen production through electrolysis technology. The South Korean company would upgrade SOEC technology and strengthen cooperation with Bloom Energy to secure the world's most efficient green hydrogen production technology.
"We will successfully complete this demonstration to secure the world's best performance water electrolysis technology and actively cooperate with global renewable energy companies to establish a green hydrogen ecosystem," SK ecoplant's eco-energy business head Lee Wang-jae said in a statement on February 17.
The American company produces power generators and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), which are an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity directly from oxidizing a fuel. Due to their extremely high electrical efficiencies and low operating costs, SOFCs are emerging as a fast-growing fuel cell segment from use as auxiliary power units in vehicles to stationary power generation.
SOEC's operating temperatures are similar to those conditions for SOFC, which uses common gas such as hydrogen as the main source of fuel and is considered to be the most stable and power-efficient among its fuel cell brothers. Because SOFC has a high power output compared to its size, the fuel cell system is ideal for powering mega-sized heavy equipment such as oil tankers and giant tunnel boring machines.
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