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Performance and Stability of a Critical Raw Materials-free Anion Exchange Membrane Electrolysis Cell


A water electrolysis cell based on anion exchange membrane (AEM) and critical raw materials-free (CRM-free) electrocatalysts was developed. A NiFe-oxide electrocatalyst was used at the anode whereas a series of metallic electrocatalysts were investigated for the cathode, such as Ni, NiCu, NiMo, NiMo/KB. These were compared to a benchmark Pt/C cathode. CRMs-free anode and cathode catalysts were synthetized with a crystallite size of about 10 nm. The effect of recirculation through the cell of a diluted KOH solution was investigated. A concentration of 0.5–1 M KOH appeared necessary to achieve suitable performance at high current density. amongst the CRM-free cathodes, the NiMo/KB catalyst showed the best performance in the AEM electrolysis cell achieving a current density of 1 A cm− 2 at about 1.7–1.8 V/cell when it was used in combination with a NiFe-oxide anode and a 50 µm thick Fumatech FAA-3–50® hydrocarbon membrane. Durability tests showed an initial decrease of cell voltage with time during 2000 h operation at 1 A cm− 2 until reaching a steady state performance with an energy efficiency close to 80%. An increase of reversible losses during start-up and shutdown cycles was observed. Appropriate stability was observed during cycled operation between 0.2 and 1 A cm− 2 ; however, the voltage efficiency was slightly lower than in steady-state operation due to the occurrence of reversible losses during the cycles. Post operation analysis of electrocatalysts allowed getting a better comprehension of the phenomena occurring during the 2000 h durability test.

Funding source: The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by the ANIONE project under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 875024. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and Italy, France, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Israel.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Italy

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