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What is it?

A variation of an electrochemical system (AE, PEM, SOE) with a portion of the energy input being supplied by the chemical conversion of coal or other carbon sources such as biomass, alcohols or other hydrocarbons. Assisted electrolysis can be either high or low temperature.

Why is it important?

The electrical energy input required is reduced due to the energy supplied by the carbon source.


  • Inputs: Carbon or hydrocarbon, water (as steam), electricity
  • By-products: Carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide
  • Operating temperature: PEM – Low (<100°C), SOE – High (>500°C)
  • Energy efficiency: Varies depending on implementation with PEM or SOE systems


  • Requires 60% less electric input, due to chemical energy input in process
  • Produces a pure hydrogen stream
  • Produces a separate CO2 stream, as opposed to in coal fired power plants
  • Cleaner and simpler process of extracting chemical energy from carbonaceous feedstocks
  • Could use biomass carbon
  • Could potentially achieve current densities similar to those achieved in PEM


  • Produces carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide (requires CCUS)
  • Build-up of by-products on surfaces and in solution (by-products vary depending on feedstock and electrolysis type)

RD&D priorities

  • Improve carbon oxidation kinetics
  • Optimise anode catalyst
  • Optimise operating conditions
  • Improve conventional electrolyser technologies and renewables system integration
  • Develop materials to reduce degradation and improve long-term performance
  • Improve current density

Known active organisations

  • Deakin University
  • The University of Newcastle
  • Western Sydney University

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