(221f) Iridium Nanowires As Highly Active, Oxygen Evolution Reaction Electrocatalysts | AIChE

(221f) Iridium Nanowires As Highly Active, Oxygen Evolution Reaction Electrocatalysts


Alia, S. - Presenter, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Shulda, S., Colorado School of Mines
Ngo, C., Colorado School of Mines
Pylypenko, S., Colorado School of Mines
Pivovar, B. S., National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Iridium Nanowires as Highly Active, Oxygen Evolution Reaction Electrocatalysts

Shaun M. Alia, Sarah Shulda, Chilan Ngo, Svitlana Pylypenko, Bryan S. Pivovar

In the United States, 2% of energy used goes through the hydrogen pathway, to produce ammonia in agriculture and upgrade oil in transportation. [1, 2] While most hydrogen is produced by steam methane reformation, electrolysis can become competitive with the use of low-cost renewable power sources. Further reductions in the cost of renewables may increase hydrogen use as an energy intermediate between the electric grid and transportation and industrial processes. [3]

Electrolyzers today operate at high capacity and with constant power input. A shift toward intermittent renewables and a focus on hydrogen production cost, however, increases the importance of catalyst thrifting and durability in the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). [2] Iridium or iridium oxide nanoparticles are typically used as OER catalysts, but are limited in activity and durability, particularly at low loading. [4]

Iridium-nickel and iridium-cobalt nanowires have been developed as OER electrocatalysts for proton exchange membrane-based electrolyzers. These catalysts use similar templates and synthesis routes previously used in the development of fuel cell oxygen reduction electrocatalysts. [5] A previous comparison between polycrystalline iridium and nanoparticles suggests that extended structures can potentially benefit from higher site-specific activity. [4] Differences between the nanowire templates affect catalyst composition, structure, and OER activity. While these materials exceed the performance of iridium nanoparticles, acid leaching is necessary to minimize template dissolution and improve durability. The acid leached catalysts exceed the half-cell activity of nanoparticles by an order of magnitude, and the half-cell mass activity of any catalyst available in literature by 4 times. In membrane electrode assemblies, the nanowires also outperform traditional iridium catalysts by 4‒5 times in single-cell electrolyzers.

[1] A. Milbrandt and M. Mann, ed. U. S. Department of Energy, http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy09osti/42773.pdf, 2009.

[2] U. S. Department of Energy, https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/review16/2016_amr_h2_at_scale.pdf, 2016.

[3] P. Denholm, M. O'Connell, G. Brinkman and J. Jorgenson, ed. U. S. Department of Energy, http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/65023.pdf, 2015, vol. NREL/TP-6A20-65023, ch. NREL/TP-6A20-65023.

[4] S. M. Alia, B. Rasimick, C. Ngo, K. C. Neyerlin, S. S. Kocha, S. Pylypenko, H. Xu and B. S. Pivovar, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 2016, 163, F3105-F3112.

[5] S. M. Alia, Y. S. Yan and B. S. Pivovar, Catalysis Science & Technology, 2014, 4, 3589-3600.