For proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis cells, use of non-precious metal catalysts for electrodes with high activity and durability would significantly decrease the overall capital costs. While intense research is being conducted for identifying a completely non-noble metal catalyst for PEM system, approaches to decrease noble metal loading is extremely critical. Decreasing the noble metal loading as well as improving the catalytic activity and durability could be achieved using novel synthesis techniques to generate high surface area nano electro-catalyst, or identifying approaches to generate low cost support structures (diluents) for electro-catalyst. The present work is thus carried out to identify a novel support for electro-catalyst which can appreciably decrease the precious metal loading without compromising the electrochemical activity and correspondingly improving the corrosion stability of noble metal oxide electro-catalyst.
Non-noble metal oxides though chemically stable are known to display however, no catalytic activity for oxygen reduction processes. Mixed oxides obtained by the addition of economically cheaper alternatives to noble metal oxides could offer significant cost effective options if the systems exhibited catalytic activity, chemical stability, and electronic conductivity similar to the currently accepted gold standard, IrO2 electro-catalysts used in PEM based water electrolysis. On the grounds of the very promising performances shown by both IrO2-SnO2 and IrO2-Nb2O5 mixtures as an anode electro-catalyst, the present investigation has been conducted to explore the synthesis and characterization of novel composite-ternary transition metal oxide systems. Also, in the present research pure and group VII doped SnO2 solid solution with IrO2 has been explored as electro-catalysts. Results to date indicate that compositions containing 80% reduction in noble metal oxide exhibit comparable electrochemical activity to pure IrO2.
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