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Membrane electrode assemblies for water electrolysis using WO3-supported IrxRu1-xO2 catalysts

: Baumann, Nils; Cremers, Carsten; Pinkwart, Karsten; Tübke, Jens


Energy technology 4 (2016), Nr.1, S.212-220
ISSN: 2194-4288
ISSN: 2194-4296
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF
Fraunhofer ICT ()

A hydrogen economy is one of the most promising concepts for the future energy infrastructure. The conversion of sunlight into hydrogen (H-2) using directly coupled photovoltaics (PV) and a proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis cell could compliment the required hydrogen production by using excess renewable electricity. It has many advantages such as producing pure hydrogen at high photon-tochemical energy efficiency and simple technical operation, but it suffers from the high cost of the catalyst. Here we show single-cell tests using commercial membranes and an in-house synthesized WO3-supported IrxRu1-xO2 anode catalyst. The catalyst was synthesized by Adam's Fusion protocol and loaded onto the support using an annealing procedure. Membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) were prepared using an airbrush spraying technique. The electrolysis activity was greatly increased by adding tungsten carbide (WC) to the support, leading to a higher current density than commercial MEAs; however it also showed very fast degradation, losing most of the activity in minutes. The biggest issue in terms of stability seems to be on the cathode side of the cell.