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Non-Precious Electrodes for Practical Alkaline Water Electrolysis


Water electrolysis is a promising approach to hydrogen production from renewable energy sources. Alkaline water electrolyzers allow using non-noble and low-cost materials. An analysis of common assumptions and experimental conditions (low concentrations, low temperature, low current densities, and short-term experiments) found in the literature is reported. The steps to estimate the reaction overpotentials for hydrogen and oxygen reactions are reported and discussed. The results of some of the most investigated electrocatalysts, namely from the iron group elements (iron, nickel, and cobalt) and chromium are reported. Past findings and recent progress in the development of efficient anode and cathode materials appropriate for large-scale water electrolysis are presented. The experimental work is done involving the direct-current electrolysis of highly concentrated potassium hydroxide solutions at temperatures between 30 and 100 ◦C, which are closer to industrial applications than what is usually found in literature. Stable cell components and a good performance was achieved using Raney nickel as a cathode and stainless steel 316L as an anode by means of a monopolar cell at 75 ◦C, which ran for one month at 300 mA cm−2 . Finally, the proposed catalysts showed a total kinetic overpotential of about 550 mV at 75 ◦C and 1 A cm−2.

Funding source: This research was funded by Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) and EXEN Sàrl of Switzerland, project number 17748.1 PFEN-IW.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Argentina ; Switzerland

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