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Electrochemical Cell Pressure Load Containment System Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131640D
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 79K

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Electrochemical Cell Pressure Load Containment System


Oxygen can be recovered from air at high temperatures by passing hot, oxygen-containing gas, preferably air, over non-porous, solid electrolyte ceramic membranes.  These membranes, known in the art generically as ion transport membranes (ITMs), utilize an applied voltage across the membrane to cause oxygen ions to migrate through the membrane. Membranes can be fabricated as tubes or flat plates that are arranged in modules for efficient contact with the hot feed air.  High-purity oxygen permeate and nitrogen-enriched non-permeate products are withdrawn from the modules.  The oxygen can also be produced by the ITM device at pressures exceeding the feed air pressure.  In some cases, the non-permeate product can have the oxygen content at very low levels (ppm levels), if desired.  A comprehensive review of ion transport membranes is given by J. D. Wright and R. J. Copeland in Report No. TDA-GRI-90/0303 prepared for the Gas Research Institute, September 1990. 

For planar geometries, the repeating unit is an electrochemical cell, comprising an electroded, ion-conducting electrolyte plate, and a gas-impermeable interconnect.  These repeating units are assembled, as shown in Figure 1, into a multi-cell stack where the cells are connected electrically (preferably in series), and the air flow to each cell is in parallel.  While a particular design is shown in Figure 1, alternate planar designs, with different oxygen and air flow pathways, can be conceived and used.  The oxygen is collected on the anode side of the electrochemical cell in a chamber formed by the electrochemical cell and the interconnect.  When the oxygen pressure exceeds the feed air pressure, an external force must be placed on the multi-cell stack to counterbalance the net tensile load imposed on the stack components, and thus prevent mechanical failure of the stack. 

Typically, this external force is applied to the multi-cell stack through mechanical means such as the use of weights and/or springs and appropriate load-tr...