A non-precious metal hydrogen catalyst in a commercial polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyser

Laurie A. King, McKenzie A. Hubert, Christopher Capuano, Judith Manco, Nemanja Danilovic, Eduardo Valle, Thomas R. Hellstern, Katherine Ayers, Thomas F. Jaramillo
Year of publication: 
Nature Nanotechnology

We demonstrate the translation of a low-cost, non-precious metal cobalt phosphide (CoP) catalyst from 1 cm2 lab-scale experiments to a commercial-scale 86 cm2 polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser. A two-step bulk synthesis was adopted to produce CoP on a high-surface-area carbon support that was readily integrated into an industrial PEM electrolyser fabrication process. The performance of the CoP was compared head to head with a platinum-based PEM under the same operating conditions (400 psi, 50 °C). CoP was found to be active and stable, operating at 1.86 A cm−2 for >1,700 h of continuous hydrogen production while providing substantial material cost savings relative to platinum. This work illustrates a potential pathway for non-precious hydrogen evolution catalysts developed in past decades to translate to commercial applications.

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