Synthesis and analysis of electrodes for water-electrolysis

BSc or MSc assignment

Synthesis and analysis of electrodes for water electrolysis

Due to daily and seasonal fluctuations of sustainable renewable energy supplies (e.g. wind or solar), energy storage systems are essential to balance energy generation and consumption. Hydrogen (specific energy density 141.65 MJ·kg−1) is one of the most promising molecules to store surplus energy. Furthermore, sustainably generated hydrogen can be used as a feedstock for the production of chemicals, through known conventional (thermal) catalytic routes.

In the short term, surplus electricity generated by a renewable energy source will be used to power commercial electrolysers (electrochemical water splitting), as this technology is considered as a promising route to produce large quantities of ultrapure hydrogen from water while simultaneously generating high purity oxygen as a value added by-product. Consequently, the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) play an essential role in the overall process, and need to be catalyzed efficiently. Today, in commercial electrolysers, expensive and rare materials like platinum (Pt) or Iridium are used as HER and OER catalyst, respectively, coated on typically Ti metal, or stainless steel electrode plates.

This assignment will focus on the synthesis and testing of alternative catalysts for the HER and OER reactions, using Ti-metal foils as substrate.