High Efficiency, Low-cost Catalyst Developed for Water Electrolysis

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A team of researchers at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) has developed a highly efficient nanostructured elecrocatalyst in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Featured with an ultra-durable core-shell, the elecrocatalyst has successfully replaced the much-needed anode in water electrolysis.

Replacing conventional fuels with renewable sources of energy is a suitable approach to achieve an eco-friendly environment and decrease future energy demands. As a result, conversion into renewable energy devices and electrochemical energy generation that depends on cathode and anode reactions is gaining traction.

Electrocatalytic water splitting in the anode results in generation of oxygen due to oxygen evolution reaction (OER), which is a slow electrochemical reaction in comparison to hydrogen evolution reaction. This is because development of durable, efficient, low-cost OER elecrocatalysts holds importance for water electrolyzer energy devices. So far, iridium and ruthenium oxides were regarded state-of-the-art electrocatalysts in OER, however, insufficient stability prevents them from being used for large-scale water splitting, thereby hindering widespread commercialization.

Research Focused to Develop Low-cost Metal Electrocatalyst

The team of researchers at DGIST along with experts at PNNL have been driven to develop an alternative non-noble, low-cost metal electrocatalyst to replace noble metal anode electrode in effective water spitting processes. Carbon-supported metal is regarded to be an efficient electrocatalytic substance for improved OER in water splitting. Until now, electrocatalysts that have been developed feature high carbon content and less active metal specious content. The real metal active sites have been mired due to higher carbon amount resulting in faster carbon corrosion conditions. This has resulted in lower electrocatalytic activity.

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