Optimizing the Cobalt Oxide Electrolysis System Using Minitab Design of Experiments

Faculty Sponsor

Robert Palumbo



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-31-2014


One of the focuses of the solar research group at Valparaiso University is the production of hydrogen from water using minimal amounts of electrical energy by storing thermal energy in cobalt (II) oxide particles. The project’s current goal is to optimize the cobalt electrolysis process by varying 9 parameters in order to increase current densities to industrially viable levels. This objective is made difficult by two key factors: 1) the applied electrical potential cannot exceed the value associated with typical water splitting, and 2) this optimization process could theoretically require thousands of separate experiments to determine the ideal operating conditions. The software package Minitab Design of Experiments was used to create an experimental plan that would efficiently determine the impact of each parameter on current density through the use of 16 experiments. Results from these experiments will be analyzed in Minitab to determine optimal running conditions for obtaining maximum current densities.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Brittany Robinson is a mechanical engineering student. She will be studying abroad in Germany next year. Jordan Otto is a biochemistry student returning for her senior year this fall. Evan Beyers graduated in May 2014, and will be participating in the graduate program at Colorado State University this fall.

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