Shaun Alia, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Anode catalyst Layer Durability in Low-Temperature Electrolysis
Written by Chetna Madan
The potential of hydrogen to become the fuel for the future can be foreseen owing to its high energy density and the ability for long-term storage and conversion between electricity and chemical bonds. Till today, the utility of hydrogen in the energy sector, particularly with electrochemical water electrolyzers, lags complete exploration. A thorough investigation of the electrocatalyst chemistry including the degradation mechanism and accelerated stress tests was discussed by Dr. Alia in this talk. It was discovered that significant potential losses due to cycling between open circuit and operating potentials were inevitable and could lead to catalyst dissolution, migration, and interfacial tearing. The impact of components integration into membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), on catalyst properties and electrolyzer durability, was also considered. The study also concluded that catalysts comprising of less stable elements or sub-stoichiometric oxides are more likely to incur severe performance losses. These observations suggest that an in-depth analysis of catalyst membrane interface is essential to design lasting and reliable electrocatalysts for water electrolysis application.