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Open AccessReview

Earth-Abundant Electrocatalysts in Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolyzers

1
Centre for Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, FERMiO, Gaustadalléen 21, NO-0349 Oslo, Norway
2
SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, P.O. Box 124 Blindern, NO-0314 Oslo, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2018, 8(12), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal8120657
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalysts for Polymer Membrane Fuel Cells)
In order to adopt water electrolyzers as a main hydrogen production system, it is critical to develop inexpensive and earth-abundant catalysts. Currently, both half-reactions in water splitting depend heavily on noble metal catalysts. This review discusses the proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis (WE) and the progress in replacing the noble-metal catalysts with earth-abundant ones. The efforts within this field for the discovery of efficient and stable earth-abundant catalysts (EACs) have increased exponentially the last few years. The development of EACs for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in acidic media is particularly important, as the only stable and efficient catalysts until now are noble-metal oxides, such as IrOx and RuOx. On the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) side, there is significant progress on EACs under acidic conditions, but there are very few reports of these EACs employed in full PEM WE cells. These two main issues are reviewed, and we conclude with prospects for innovation in EACs for the OER in acidic environments, as well as with a critical assessment of the few full PEM WE cells assembled with EACs. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer exchange membrane; electrocatalysts; noble metals; earth abundant elements; water splitting; acidic environment; oxygen evolution reaction; hydrogen evolution reaction; anode and cathode electrodes polymer exchange membrane; electrocatalysts; noble metals; earth abundant elements; water splitting; acidic environment; oxygen evolution reaction; hydrogen evolution reaction; anode and cathode electrodes
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Sun, X.; Xu, K.; Fleischer, C.; Liu, X.; Grandcolas, M.; Strandbakke, R.; Bjørheim, T.S.; Norby, T.; Chatzitakis, A. Earth-Abundant Electrocatalysts in Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolyzers. Catalysts 2018, 8, 657.

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