An experimental study has been completed to assess the performance of single solid-oxide electrolysis cells operating over a temperature range of 800 to 900°C. The experiments were performed over a range of steam inlet partial pressures (2.3–12.2 kPa), carrier gas flow rates (50–200 sccm), and current densities (−0.75 to 0.25 A/cm2) using single electrolyte-supported button cells of scandia-stabilized zirconia. Steam consumption rates associated with electrolysis were measured directly using inlet and outlet dewpoint instrumentation. Cell operating potentials and cell current were varied using a programmable power supply and monitored continuously. Values of area-specific resistance and thermal efficiency are presented as a function of current density. Cell performance is shown to be continuous from the fuel-cell mode to the electrolysis mode of operation. The effects of steam starvation and thermal cycling on cell performance parameters are discussed.

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