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Analysis of Trends and Emerging Technologies in Water Electrolysis Research Based on a Computational Method: A Comparison with Fuel Cell Research


Water electrolysis for hydrogen production has received increasing attention, especially for accumulating renewable energy. Here, we comprehensively reviewed all water electrolysis research areas through computational analysis, using a citation network to objectively detect emerging technologies and provide interdisciplinary data for forecasting trends. The results show that all research areas increase their publication counts per year, and the following two areas are particularly increasing in terms of number of publications: “microbial electrolysis” and “catalysts in an alkaline water electrolyzer (AWE) and in a polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzer (PEME).”. Other research areas, such as AWE and PEME systems, solid oxide electrolysis, and the whole renewable energy system, have recently received several review papers, although papers that focus on specific technologies and are cited frequently have not been published within the citation network. This indicates that these areas receive attention, but there are no novel technologies that are the center of the citation network. Emerging technologies detected within these research areas are presented in this review. Furthermore, a comparison with fuel cell research is conducted because water electrolysis is the reverse reaction to fuel cells, and similar technologies are employed in both areas. Technologies that are not transferred between fuel cells and water electrolysis are introduced, and future water electrolysis trends are discussed.

Funding source: Part of this research was financially supported by the following project: “Comprehensive scenario analysis for prospects and bottleneck of hydrogen energy in future energy system” (FY2016-FY2017) in the program of Advancement of Hydrogen Technologies and Utilization Project, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Japan ; United States

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