Solar Thermal Decoupled Electrolysis: Developing a Method for Reliably Quantifying Current Efficiency

Primary Submission Contact

Daniel Kotfer

Faculty Sponsor

Robert Palumbo

Faculty Sponsor Email Address





Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering

Document Type

Poster Presentation


Fall 10-30-2015


We are developing a reliable method for quantifying the current efficiency of the Valparaiso University solar electrolysis process for producing H2 from H2O. The current efficiency is based on a method of x-ray diffraction (XRD) quantitative analysis on solid products formed at the anode. Variables affecting the quality of current efficiency calculations were established experimentally. Ternary standards of cobalt species in varying mass percentages, similar to those expected from the electrolysis process, were analyzed and the results were compared to the known standard values. Critical variables include the following: (1) the method of quantification: Rietveld refinement or Relative Intensity; (2) the reference spectra used to identify species from the XRD pattern; (3) the drying temperature of electrolysis products. By investigating these variables, we have identified the method, reference data, and drying temperature for the analysis procedure.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Daniel Kotfer is a junior biology and chemistry major. After graduation, he hopes to attend graduate or medical school and pursue a career in the medical field.

William Prusinski is a senior biochemistry student with a focus in physical chemistry. Solar research is of interest to him because it is an interdisciplinary effort involving chemistry and engineering. After graduating, he plans to continue his education with a graduate degree in chemistry and work in the field of energy.

Joshua Grade is a senior mechanical engineering major. After graduating, he plans to further pursue his interest in solar research in both electrochemistry and design. His interest in electrochemistry stems from his curiosity in the development of solar technology.

Additional Presentation Information

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