NiO-YSZ tubular-type supported solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) was prepared by dip-coating and co-sintering process for intermediate temperature steam electrolysis. To achieve a small overpotential, infiltration of Sm0.5Sr0.5CoO3−δ (SSC) powder into porous La0.9Sr0.1Ga0.8Mg0.2O3−δ (LSGM) layer on dense LSGM electrolyte film was performed for the air electrode. In this study, the effect of the Ni-Sm0.2Ce0.8O2−δ (Ni-SDC) and Ni-Fe2O3 (Ni-Fe) cathodic layer on steam electrolysis was further investigated. It was found that the Ni-based layer was effective for increasing electrolysis performance of the cell at low temperature in particular, but Ni-Fe layer was more effective. Impedance analysis suggests that this increased electrolysis performance of the cell using Ni-Fe layer was attributed to the decrease both in cathodic IR loss and overpotential. Electrolysis current density at 1.5 V was achieved to current density of 0.69, 0.47 and 0.28 A cm−2 at 873, 823 and 773 K, respectively. In addition, the overpotential was also decreased by the insertion of Ni-SDC layer, which shows the mixed conductivity. The long-term stability of the cell when using Ni-SDC layer was also measured up to 150 h and stable electrolysis performance was demonstrated (degradation rate: around 1.9%/100 h).
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