Implementation of Transition Metal Phosphides as Pt-Free Catalysts for PEM Water Electrolysis


Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) water electrolysis (WE) produces H2 with a high degree of purity, requiring only water and energy. If the energy is provided from renewable energy sources, it releases “Green H2”, a CO2 -free H2 . PEMWE uses expensive and rare noble metal catalysts, which hinder their use at a large industrial scale. In this work, the electrocatalytic properties of Transition Metal Phosphides (TMP) catalysts supported on Carbon Black (CB) for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) were investigated as an alternative to Platinum Group Metals. The physico-chemical properties and catalytic performance of the synthesized catalysts were characterized. In the ex situ experiments, the 25% FeP/CB, 50% FeP/CB and 50% CoP/CB with overpotentials of −156.0, −165.9 and −158.5 mV for a current density of 100 mA cm−2 showed the best catalytic properties, thereby progressing to the PEMWE tests. In those tests, the 50% FeP/CB required an overpotential of 252 mV for a current density of 10 mA cm−2 , quite close to the 220 mV of the Pt catalyst. This work provides a proper approach to the synthesis and characterization of TMP supported on carbon materials for the HER, paving the way for further research in order to replace the currently used PGM in PEMWE.

Funding source: This paper is a result of the project “HyGreen&LowEmissions—Tackling Climate Change Impacts: the role of Green Hydrogen production, storage and use, together with low emissions energy systems”, with the reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000077, supported by Norte Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This research was financially supported by PTDC/EQU-EQU/1707/2020, funded by FCT and by LA/P/0045/2020 (ALiCE), UIDB/00532/2020 and UIDP/00532/2020 (CEFT), UIDB/50020/2020 and UIDP/50020/2020 (LSRE-LCM) funded by national funds through FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Portugal

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