Green hydrogen from wind and solar electricity is necessary to decarbonize certain sectors of our economy that are inaccessible by renewable electricity and it has the potential to reduce more than 30% of the global carbon emission. For the transportation sector, green hydrogen can help decarbonization through its use in fuel cells. Green hydrogen refers to hydrogen that is produced by water electrolyzers powered by renewable electricity. For low temperature fuel cells and electrolyzers, polymer electrolytes play a critical role in controlling their cost, performance, and durability, and consequently their economic viability.
In this presentation, I will focus on our recent work on hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells (HEMFCs). More specifically I will show the roadmap we have developed for this technology, the progress we have made in developing one of the most stable membranes and some of the most active nonprecious metal catalysts. I will also try to answer the fundamental question: why are hydrogen oxidation reactions are slower in base than in acid for precious metal catalysts?