Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Chemical Engineering


The thermochemical cycle involving the interconversion between sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid is a promising method for efficient, large-scale production of hydrogen. A key step in the process is the oxidation of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid in an electrolyzer. Gaseous SO2 fed to a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer was previously investigated and was shown to be a promising system for the electrolysis step. A critical factor in the performance of this gas-fed electrolyzer is the management of water since it: (i) is needed as a reactant, (ii) determines the product sulfuric acid concentration, (iii) affects SO2 crossover rate, and (iv) serves to hydrate the membrane. Therefore, we present a coupled mathematical and experimental study on the effect of water on the production of sulfuric acid in a gas-phase PEM electrolyzer. The model is shown to successfully predict the concentration of sulfuric acid as a function of temperature, current density, pressure differential across the membrane, and membrane thickness.