NewHydrogen, Inc. reported on the progress of its Oxygen Evolution Reaction (OER) catalyst development for proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers.
Previously, the company also reported on the progress made with its single-atom Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) catalyst that does not use platinum.
The goal of NewHydrogen’s sponsored research at UCLA is to lower the cost of green hydrogen by eliminating or drastically reducing the use of precious metals in electrolyzers. Electrolyzers currently rely on rare materials such as iridium and platinum. These materials often account for a substantial portion of the cost of electrolyzers.
In 2021, UCLA researchers developed a non-precious metal-based catalyst with significant improvement of OER in acidic conditions for PEM electrolyzers. The catalytic performance was then further improved by modifying the material structure of the catalyst.
The ongoing research is designed to identify optimal modification methods and to understand specific causes of the improvements. An in-depth analysis of the catalytic materials before and after the structural modification provides a path to further improvements in the future.
Recently, catalyst samples before and after structure modification were subjected to synchrotron tests at a national laboratory. The XANES analysis provided plausible explanations for the significant catalytic performance improvement observed.
In one important aspect under observation, the doped elements were positioned within the modified structure of the catalyst in a specific manner associated with the enhanced material characteristics, thus deemed to be the most likely origin of the superior OER performance.