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Study of thin-film Ir-Ru based catalyst for proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer (GAUK)

This project deals with the possibility of reducing the amount of noble metals in the catalytic layers of an electrolyzer with the proton exchange membrane (PEM-WE). PEM-WE is an important part of the hydrogen economy as it allows storage of the overproduced energy from the renewable sources in the form of chemical energy. Significant decreasing of the amount of used catalyst can be achieved non-conventionally by combination of the magnetron sputtering of the catalysts on the nanostructured sublayers with large specific surface. The aim of this project is to test the thin-film catalytic mixtures containing Ir, Ru and their oxides and to find out if they could replace pure iridium, which currently dominates as the catalyst used for the anode of PEM-WE due to its rezistance to high potential and good catalytic properties.

For this purpose, a wide arsenal of experimental methods, available at the Department of Surface and Plasma Science of Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, will be used. The investigated layers will be prepared by magnetron sputtering, characterized by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and finally, tested in model conditions of a rotation disk electrode and in an electrolyzer in a test station in real conditions.

Grant provider Charles University
Programme GA UK
Project ID 58620
Duration Mar 2020 – Jan 2022
Principal investigator Tomáš Hrbek