Efficient water electrolysis is a requirement for a transition to a hydrogen-based energy system. Therefore, comprehensive efforts are directed towards potential reductions in the capital costs and an increase in the energy efficiency of PEM water electrolysers for production of hydrogen from renewable electricity.
This project deals with water electrolysis with proton-conducting membranes. Due to the acidic conditions in these membranes the oxygen evolution reaction at the anode is slow and requires use of expensive and scarce materials for electrocatalysts which will hamper the use of this otherwise efficient technology. Thus, the project supports the introduction of new concepts in the development of highly active electrocatalysts for PEM electrolysers expected to lead to up to 75% reduction of the use of platinum group metals compared to the state of the art PEM electrolysers.
The project draws on recent experimental and theoretical progress to solve this problem by designing and implementing catalyst architectures of ultra-high catalyst utilization. Work performed at NTNU and LEPMI indicates that significant reduction in the amount of for example iridium used in PEM water electrolysis catalysts can be achieved in segregated structures without loss of performance.
The project thus pursues the use of wet-chemical synthesis techniques, to achieve improved catalyst architectures such as MOx@IrO2 core@shell catalysts based on iridium oxide shells and a conducting oxide cores. This will be combined with advanced characterization techniques for verification of the structures as well as their implementation in electrolysis cells. In particular will the Project benefit from the new Norwegian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Centre and an experimental rig for in-situ characterisation of catalyst degradation at LEPMI.