The direct electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) is achieved without catalysts and at sufficiently high temperatures to avoid carbon formation. The tubular electrolysis cell consists of thin layers of anode, electrolyte, cathode and cell interconnection. The electrolyte is made from yttria-stabilized zirconia which is an oxygen ion conductor at elevated temperatures. Anode and cell interconnection materials are complex oxides and are electronic conductors. The cathode material is a composite metal-ceramic structure. Cell performance characteristics have been determined using varying feed gas compositions and degrees of electrochemical decomposition. Cell test data are used to project the performance of a three-person CO2-electrolysis breadboard system.