CuCl electrolysis for hydrogen production in the Cu-Cl thermochemical cycle

Victor N. Balashov, Rich S. Schatz, Elena Chalkova, Nikolay N. Akinfiev, Mark V. Fedkin, Serguei N. Lvov

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59 Scopus citations


The Cu-Cl thermochemical cycle is among the most attractive technologies proposed for hydrogen production due to moderate temperature requirements and high efficiency. In this study, the key step of the cycle, H2 gas evolution via oxidation of CuCl(s) dissolved in high concentrated HCl(aq), was experimentally investigated. The electrolysis parameters and system performance were studied by linear sweep voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy at ambient temperature. Promising performance of the electrolyzer was obtained when pure water was used as catholyte. A thermodynamic model previously developed for speciation of the CuCl-Cu Cl2 -HCl aqueous solutions was used to speculate on the effects of reagent concentration, flow rate, and temperature on electrolysis kinetics. The experimental decomposition potential necessary to initiate the hydrogen evolution reaction was more than 3 times lower than the potential necessary for water electrolysis at the same conditions. Close correspondence of the hydrogen production rate to Faraday's law of electrolysis indicated the current efficiency of about 98%, while the voltage efficiency was estimated at 80% at 0.5 V and 0.1 A/ cm2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B266-B275
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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