Design of an in-operando cell for X-ray and neutron imaging of oxygen-depolarized cathodes in chlor-alkali electrolysis
Oxygen-depolarized cathodes are a novel concept to be used in chlor-alkali electrolysis in order to generate significant energy savings. In these porous gas diffusion electrodes, hydrophilic and catalytically active microsized silver grains and a hydrophobic polytetrafluoroethylene cobweb structure are combined to obtain the optimum amount of three-phase boundaries between the highly alkaline electrolyte and the oxygen gas phase to achieve high current densities. However, the direct correlation between specific electrode structure and electrochemical performance is difficult. In this work, we report on the successful design and adaptation of an in-operando cell for X-ray (micro-computed tomography, synchrotron) and neutron imaging of an operating oxygen-depolarized cathode under realistic operation conditions, enabling the investigation of the electrolyte invasion into, and distribution inside, the porous electrode for the first time.