Next Generation AEM-WE Catalyst: Corrosion Engineering for Highly Efficient Oxygen Evolution in Anion Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis

Miriam Hesse, The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Center - ZBT GmbH, Duisburg, Germany
Bastian Kaufmann, The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Center - ZBT GmbH, Duisburg,
Moritz Pilaski, The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Center - ZBT GmbH, Duisburg,
Harry Hoster, Universität Duisburg-Essen/The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Center - ZBT GmbH, Duisburg,
Ivan Radev, The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Center - ZBT GmbH, Duisburg,
Ulf-Peter Apfel, Fraunhofer UMSICHT/Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, Bochum,
Thomas Ernst Müller, Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, Bochum,

Hydrogen production by water electrolysis utilizing renewable energy sources is an emerging sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Among the available electrolyzer systems, anion exchange membrane water electrolysis (AEM-WE) attracts growing attention. The main difference to the alkaline electrolysis (AEL) is that the liquid electrolyte is replaced by a hydroxide ion-conducting membrane. The process combines the advantages of alkaline water electrolysis and proton exchange membrane electrolysis (PEM-WE), thus overcoming their limitations. We aim for a scalable synthesis of non-noble metal-based catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and long-term stable membrane electrode assemblies (MEA). Here, corrosion engineering might offer a new pathway: The redox reaction during the induced corrosion leads to the formation of defined layers on the metal substrate surface, which can be used as active catalytic centers. This approach provides a simple, cost-efficient, and effective fabrication of OER-electrodes without any additional energy consumption. Traditionally, the activity of new electrocatalysts is derived from rotating disk electrode experiments. However, the development of catalysts and the approach requires an integration into a MEA and testing in an electrolysis cell. To leverage our understanding of the catalytic behavior under operation conditions (electrolyte composition, cell temperature, pressure), comparable characterizations have been carried out in order to improve performance and study durability. Here we present first results obtained for a nickel nonwoven felt, with NixFe1-xOOH as anode and Pt/C on a carbon felt as cathode in a lab-scale AEM-WE setup. Our findings include advances in the development of the corrosion engineering, their application in MEAs and their full cell performance.

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