Membrane electrode assemblies with low noble metal loadings for hydrogen production from solid polymer electrolyte water electrolysis
Bladergroen, Bernard Jan
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High performance membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) with low noble metal loadings (NMLs) were developed for solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) water electrolysis. The electro- chemical and physical characterization of the MEAs was performed by IeV curves, elec- trochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Even though the total NML was lowered to 0.38 mg cm-2, it still reached a high performance of 1.633 V at 2 A cm-2 and 80 o C, with IrO2 as anode catalyst. The influences of the ionomer content in the anode catalyst layer (CL) and the cell temperature were investigated with the purpose of optimizing the performance. SEM and EIS measurements revealed that the MEA with low NML has very thin porous cathode and anode CLs that get intimate contact with the electrolyte membrane, which makes a reduced mass transport limitation and lower ohmic resistance of the MEA. A short-term water electrolysis operation at 1 A cm-2 showed that the MEA has good stability: the cell voltage maintained at ~1.60 V without distinct degradation after 122 h operation at 80 o C and atmospheric pressure.