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Benchmarking molybdenum-based materials as cathode electrocatalysts for proton exchange membrane water electrolysis: can these compete with Pt?
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9239-0541
2023 (English)In: ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, E-ISSN 2168-0485, Vol. 11, no 20, p. 7641-7654Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) is a promising technology to produce high-purity renewable hydrogen gas. However, its operation efficiency is highly dependent on the usage of expensive noble metals as electrocatalysts. Replacing, decreasing, or simply extending the operational lifetime of these precious metals have a positive impact on the hydrogen economy. Mo-based electrocatalysts are often praised as potential materials to replace the Pt used at the cathode to catalyse the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Most electrocatalytic studies are performed in traditional three-electrode cells with different operational conditions than those seen in PEM systems, making it difficult to predict the expected material’s performance under industrially relevant conditions. Therefore, we investigated the viability of using three selected Mo-based nanomaterials (1T′-MoS2, Co-MoS2, and β-Mo2C) as HER electrocatalysts in PEMWE systems. We investigated the effects of replacing Pt on the catalyst loading, charge transfer resistance, kinetics, operational stability, and hydrogen production efficiency during the PEMWE operation. In addition, we developed a methodology to identify the individual contribution of the anode and cathode kinetics in a PEMWE system, allowing to detect the cause behind the performance drop when using Mo-based electrocatalysts. Our results indicate that the electrochemical performance in three-electrode cells might not strictly predict the performance that could be achieved in PEMWE cells due to differences in interfaces and porosity of the macroscopic catalyst layers. Among the catalysts studied, 1T′-MoS2 is truly an excellent candidate to replace Pt as an HER electrocatalyst due to its low overpotential, low charge transfer resistance, and excellent durability, reaching a high efficiency of ∼75% at 1 A cm-2 and 1.94 V. Our study highlights the importance of a continuous development of efficient noble-metal free HER electrocatalysts suitable for PEMWE systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Chemical Society (ACS), 2023. Vol. 11, no 20, p. 7641-7654
Keywords [en]
carbide, cobalt, electrolyser, molybdenum, proton exchange membrane, sulfide, water splitting
National Category
Other Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-209305DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c07201ISI: 000984386300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85159600021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-209305DiVA, id: diva2:1763969
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2018-03937The Kempe Foundations, JCK-2132The Kempe Foundations, JCK-2021Carl Tryggers foundation , 21-1581Available from: 2023-06-08 Created: 2023-06-08 Last updated: 2024-02-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Plasma spray coatings as catalysts for water splitting: exploring novel materials and strategies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Plasma spray coatings as catalysts for water splitting: exploring novel materials and strategies
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Plasmagenererade katalysbeläggningar för vattenelektrolys : nya material och strategier
Abstract [en]

Today, fossil fuels still play a dominant role in the global energy systems. However, they are depleting quickly and the combustion of them causes many environmental concerns, including global warming, air pollution, ozone layer depletion, and acid rain. In response to these environmental challenges, a transition from fossil fuel energy sources towards sustainable alternatives is urgent and necessary. Unlike traditional fossil fuels, hydrogen serves as an environmentally friendly fuel with exceptional energy density, and its combustion generates no greenhouse gases. Moreover, hydrogen holds the versatility to be produced, stored, and utilized by various sectors, including transportation, industry, and electricity generation. Electrolyzer technology offers a sustainable pathway for clean hydrogen production when using electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind power. The integration of hydrogen into energy systems holds significant potential for a decarbonized and sustainable future.

In this thesis, we focused on creating affordable coatings using earth-abundant transition metals and explored their application as electrocatalysts for hydrogen and oxygen production in alkaline and acidic environments. We developed novel synthetic routes and new materials, we studied their intricate structure and composition, and we were able to fine-tune their catalytic activity and durability. Our findings demonstrated that plasma spray technology offers a scalable approach for producing highly active catalysts, while also developing coatings that can tolerate acidic environments and extend the lifetime of the state-of-the-art oxygen evolution catalysts. Furthermore, we tested and discussed alternative materials aiming to offer cost-effective substitutes for expensive Pt-based electrocatalysts for hydrogen production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2024. p. 66
Keywords
Plasma spray, water splitting, coatings, electrocatalyst, hydrogen evolution reaction, oxygen evolution reaction
National Category
Physical Chemistry Energy Systems
Research subject
Physical Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-221502 (URN)9789180703086 (ISBN)9789180703093 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-03-27, NAT.D.440, Naturvetarhuset, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-06 Created: 2024-02-26 Last updated: 2024-03-06Bibliographically approved

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Piñeiro-García, AlexisPerivoliotis, Dimitrios K.Wu, XiuyuGracia-Espino, Eduardo

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