Earth-Abundant Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Alkaline Anion-Exchange-Membrane Water Electrolysis: Effects of Catalyst Conductivity and Comparison with Performance in Three-Electrode Cells

Earth-Abundant Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Alkaline Anion-Exchange-Membrane Water Electrolysis: Effects of Catalyst Conductivity and Comparison with Performance in Three-Electrode Cells

TitleEarth-Abundant Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Alkaline Anion-Exchange-Membrane Water Electrolysis: Effects of Catalyst Conductivity and Comparison with Performance in Three-Electrode Cells
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDongyu Xu, Michaela Burke Stevens, Monty R Cosby, Sebastian Z Oener, Adam M Smith, Lisa J Enman, Katherine E Ayers, Christopher B Capuano, Julie N Renner, Nemanja Danilovic, Yaogang Li, Hongzhi Wang, Qinghong Zhang, Shannon W Boettcher
JournalACS Catalysis
Volume9
Issue1
Pagination7 - 15
Date Published11/2018
ISSN2155-5435
Keywordsdevices, electrolyzer, materials
Abstract

Anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysis is a promising technology to produce hydrogen through the splitting of pure water. In contrast to proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) technology, which requires precious-metal oxide anodes, AEM systems allow for the use of earth-abundant anode catalysts. Here we report a study of first-row transition-metal (oxy)hydroxide/oxide catalyst powders for application in AEM devices and compare physical properties and performance to benchmark IrOx catalysts as well as typical catalysts for alkaline electrolyzers. We show that the catalysts’ oxygen-evolution activity measured in alkaline electrolyte using a typical three-electrode cell is a poor indicator of performance in the AEM system. The best oxygen-evolution-reaction (OER) catalysts in alkaline electrolyte, NiFeOxHy oxyhydroxides, are the worst in AEM electrolysis devices where a solid alkaline electrolyte is used along with a pure water feed. NiCoOx-based catalysts show the best performance in AEM electrolysis. The performance can be further improved by adding Fe species to the particle surface. We attribute the differences in performance in part to differences in the electrical conductivity of the catalyst phases, which are also measured and reported.

DOI10.1021/acscatal.8b04001
Short TitleACS Catal.