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Novel materials for proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers (GAČR)

The project deals with preparation, thorough characterization and testing of novel nanostructured materials and catalysts for use in proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers. Catalysts will be designed with emphasis on reducing the noble metal loading without significant performance drop. We will approach the task from two different directions: i) We will study new high-surface catalyst supports in order to enlarge the active area of catalyst. ii ) We will focus on creating mixed, multi-elemental catalysts in form of alloys and oxides, where noble metal will be mostly replaced by cheaper alternative. Due to the project multidisciplinary character the research team will be composed of 5 young experts covering all experimental techniques involved in the project. As a result, the knowledge-based model approach will have a direct impact on catalyst development in a real system and eventually will lead to water electrolyzer prototype. This approach makes the project unique, not only from the point of view of scientific advances, but also of technological and economic impacts.

Grant provider Czech Science Foundation
Programme Junior Grants
P108 – Materials Science and Engineering
Project ID 18-06989Y
Duration Jan 2018 – Dec 2020
Principal investigator Dr. Jaroslava Nováková


  1. I. Khalakhan, F. Waidhas, O. Brummel, M. Vorokhta, P. Kúš, Y. V. Yakovlev, M. Bertram, M. Dopita, I. Matolínová, J. Libuda, V. Matolín: Nanoscale Morphological and Structural Transformations of PtCu Alloy Electrocatalysts during Potentiodynamic Cycling. J. Phys. Chem. C 122 (2018) 21974, doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b06840.
  2. P. Kúš, A. Ostroverkh, I. Khalakhan, R. Fiala, Y. Kosto, B. Šmíd, Y. Lobko, Y. Yakovlev, J. Nováková, I. Matolínová, V. Matolín: Magnetron sputtered thin-film vertically segmented Pt-Ir catalyst supported on TiC for anode side of proton exchange membrane unitized regenerative fuel cells. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 44 (2019) 16087, doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2019.04.216.
  3. Y. Yakovlev, J. Nováková, P. Kúš, T. Dinhová, I. Matolínová, V. Matolín: Highly developed nanostructuring of polymer-electrolyte membrane supported catalysts for hydrogen fuel cell application. J. Power Sources 439 (2019) 227084, doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2019.227084.
  4. R. Brown, M. Vorokhta, I. Khalakhan, M. Dopita, T. Vonderach, T. Skála, N. Lindahl, I. Matolínová, H. Grönbeck, K. M. Neyman, V. Matolín, B. Wickman: Unraveling the Surface Chemistry and Structure in Highly Active Sputtered Pt3Y Catalyst Films for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 12 (2019) 4454, doi:10.1021/acsami.9b17817.
  5. I. Khalakhan, M. Bogar, M. Vorokhta, P. Kúš, Y. Yakovlev, M. Dopita, D. J. S. Sandbeck, S. Cherevko, I. Matolínová, H. Amenitsch: Evolution of the PtNi Bimetallic Alloy Fuel Cell Catalyst under Simulated Operational Conditions. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 12 (2020) 17602, doi:10.1021/acsami.0c02083.
  6. I. Khalakhan, L. Vega, M. Vorokhta, T. Skála, F. Viñes, Y. V. Yakovlev, K. M. Neyman, I. Matolínová: Irreversible structural dynamics on the surface of bimetallic PtNi alloy catalyst under alternating oxidizing and reducing environments. Appl. Catal., B 264 (2020) 118476, doi:10.1016/j.apcatb.2019.118476.
  7. J. Novakova, M. Dubau, S. Fuka, T. Duchon, K. Veltruska, V. Johanek, R. Fiala, I. Matolinova, V. Potin: Role of Nitrogenated Carbon Support in Porous Structure Formation of Pt-CeOx Based Catalysts. ECS Meeting Abstracts MA2020-01 (2020) 2703, doi:10.1149/ma2020-01482703mtgabs.
  8. J. Nováková, M. Dubau, Š. Fuka, T. Ducho?, V. Johánek, R. Fiala, K. Veltruská, V. Potin, V. Matolín, I. Matolínová: Role of nitrogenated carbon in tuning Pt-CeOx based anode catalysts for higher performance of hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Appl. Surf. Sci. 515 (2020) 146054, doi:10.1016/j.apsusc.2020.146054.
  9. R. Brown, M. Vorokhta, T. Skála, I. Khalakhan, N. Lindahl, B. Eriksson, C. Lagergren, I. Matolínová, V. Matolín, B. Wickman: Surface Composition of a Highly Active Pt3Y Alloy Catalyst for Application in Low Temperature Fuel Cells. Fuel Cells 20 (2020) 413, doi:10.1002/fuce.201900186.
  10. T. Hrbek, P. Kúš, Y. Yakovlev, J. Nováková, Y. Lobko, I. Khalakhan, V. Matolín, I. Matolínová: Sputter-etching treatment of proton-exchange membranes: Completely dry thin-film approach to low-loading catalyst-coated membranes for water electrolysis. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 45 (2020) 20776, doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2020.05.245.
  11. Y. V. Yakovlev, Y. V. Lobko, M. Vorokhta, J. Nováková, M. Mazur, I. Matolínová, V. Matolín: Ionomer content effect on charge and gas transport in the cathode catalyst layer of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. J. Power Sources 490 (2021) 229531, doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2021.229531.