Hydrogen Production

Nuclear-Based Hydrogen Production via the Cu-Cl Thermochemical Cycle

Thermochemical water splittingin the Cu-Cl cycle can produce hydrogen directly from steam. Steam is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen through intermediate chemical and electrochemical reactions of Cu-Cl compounds, as shown in Figure 1. While promising, there are still several fundamental scientific challenges that must be overcome in order to show that this cycle is viable. Research at UOIT is focused upon overcoming these challenges.

At the heart of this cycle is an electrolysis step involving the oxidation of CuCl and the generation of H2, as shown in Figure 2. Therefore, this step must be a highly a efficient process. Research in the Easton lab focuses on the fundamental understanding of electrode kinetics under conditions relevant to the thermochemical cycle and the development of novel electrode materials and electrode structures including ceramic carbon electrodes and advanced membrane materials.

More detail on our research in this area can be found in the following publications:

  1. S.L. Cobourn, E.B. Easton, “The effect of copper contamination at the cathode of CuCl/HCl electrolyzers", International Journal of Hydrogen Energy,  42 (2017) 28157 - 28163   doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.09.142
  2. S. Ranganathan and E. B. Easton, "High performance ceramic carbon electrodes-based anodes for use in the Cu-Cl thermochemical cycle for hydrogen production", Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35, 1001-1007 (2010). doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009. 2009.11.077
  3. S. Ranganathan and E. B. Easton, "Ceramic carbon electrode-based anodes for use in the Cu-Cl thermochemical cycle", Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35, 4871 - 4876 (2010).doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.08.085
  4. G. Naterer, S. Suppiah, M. Lewis, K. Gabriel, I. Dincer, M. A. Rosen, M. Fowler, G. Rizvi, E. B. Easton, B. M. Ikeda, M. H. Kaye, L. Lu, I. Pioro, P. Spekkens, P. Tremaine, J. Mostaghimi, J. Avsec, and J. Jiang, "Recent Canadian advances in nuclear-based hydrogen production and the thermochemical Cu-Cl cycle", Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 34, 2901-2917 (2009).  doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.01.090