Breakthrough in Commercial Auto Hydrogen Production Claimed

A team of Korean and US researchers are claiming a breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production using much less energy to create.

The team, led by Professor Chanho Pak from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in Korea, has developed a process that claims to achieve an efficient proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis. PEM water electrolyzers convert surplus electric energy into transportable hydrogen energy. However, slow oxygen evolution reaction rates and high loading levels of expensive metal oxide catalysts limit its commercial feasibility.

Now the researchers have developed a tantalum oxide-supported iridium catalyst they claim significantly boosts the oxygen evolution reaction speed. Additionally, it shows high catalytic activity and long-term stability in prolonged single cell operation.

Dr Pak explained: “The electron-rich Ir nanostructure was uniformly dispersed on the stable mesoporous Ta2O5 support prepared via a soft-template method combined with an ethylenediamine encircling process, which effectively decreased the amount of Ir in a single PEMWE cell to 0.3 mg cm–2.” Importantly, the innovative Ir/Ta2O5 catalyst design not only improved the utilization of Ir but also facilitated higher electrical conductivity and a large electrochemically active surface area. He added: “This advancement has the potential to revolutionize the commercialization of PEMWEs, accelerating its adoption as a primary method for hydrogen production.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_  and Threads

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