Self-Assembling Oxide Catalyst for Electrochemical Water Splitting
We have developed an electrocatalytic material for oxygen evolution reactions (OER) in alkaline solutions. The main purpose of this activity is to make the H2 production more effective. Our catalyst is based on perovskites with high activity (industry competitive once based on metals). In the same time – and in contrast to all other perovskite-based catalysts – the material is stable at industrial conditions.
H2 technology is considered as one of the most promising “green energy” solutions. There are several different ways for H2 production, but the electrochemical water splitting is surely the most promising one. The electrochemical water splitting is proceeded via electrolysis where H2 is formed at the cathode and simultaneously O2 is formed at the anode. Both reactions are coupled through electroneutrality conditions and thus, the slower reaction determines the overall reaction rate. In water electrolysis, the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) at the anode is thus the limiting factor.
The current production limitation for industry is the still too high production costs, which can be minimized by introducing more effective catalytic materials. Catalysts for the H2 reaction are already well established and their optimization is not expected to improve sufficiently the financial reliability. However, improving the OER is the key approach for future low cost hydrogen production.
Current catalysts for OER are metal based and the industry prefers to replace the expensive noble metal-based catalysts. Mostly Ni-Fe alloys are used or stainless steel with higher Ni/Fe content. In the past decade, perovskite catalysts already became a highly attractive alternative due to their low costs and high (electro)catalytic activity.
- Metal catalysts passivate with time and are less effective or too expensive (noble metals).
- The suggested perovskite catalysts work very well at lab conditions (room temperature and diluted KOH solution). However, they are highly unstable* at industrial relevant conditions (80 °C and about 5-7M KOH). For this reason, despite intensive work on their optimization in the last 15 years, there is currently no alternative product industrially available.
* Chemical and structural instabilities that lead to complete dissolution (loss of material)
By advanced materials design (doping) we have created an innovative electrocatalytic material that, despite loss of crystallinity, preserves its excellent catalytic properties which remain chemically stable at industrial relevant conditions. This stability is comparable to catalysts widely used in industry nowadays.
Scope of application
Catalyzing the OER to increase the production rate of H2, achieved by alkaline water electrolysis, resulting in reduced production costs.
If you have questions about the technology please refer to:
Name: Dr. Ilia Valov (Head of Group Nanoelectrochemistry)
Institute: Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI-7, Electronic Materials)
If you are interested in a cooperation or in licensing please refer to:
Name: Dr. Jörg Bohnemann
Department: Innovation and Strategy (UE-I)
- DE 102017205339A1 granted
- EP 3601639B1 granted
- PCT EP2018/057880 pending
- WO 2018178135A1 pending
- US 11111587B2 granted
- JP 2020515405A pending
- CN 110494595A pending
KeywordsElectrocatalysis, OER, electrochemical water splitting, hydrogen technology, green hydrogen
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