Supernode IDEA: Linking Low Temperature Electrolysis /Hybrid Materials to Electrode Properties to Performance

Recipient National Renewable Energy Laboratory/NREL (PI: Huyen Dinh and Bryan Pivovar)

HydroGEN Node Experts

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/LBNL:

  • Nemanja Danilovic
  • Ahmet Kusoglu
  • Adam Weber

National Renewable Energy Laboratory/NREL:

  • Shaun Alia
  • Guido Bender
  • Scott Mauger
  • Michael Ulsh

Savannah River National Laboratory/SRNL:

  • Elise Fox
  • Hector Colón-Mercado

Water Splitting Technology LTE, Hybrid

Status Awarded

Abstract The objective of this supernode is to demonstrate the enhanced potential of individual nodes through integration of multiple nodes at NREL, LBNL and SRNL to probe the connection between materials, electrode composition and processing, and device performance for low temperature electrolysis (LTE)/hybrid electrolysis. This supernode will combine/integrate nodes that focus on ex-situ materials characterization, electrode processing, in-situ device characterization, and modeling, so that ex-situ characterization approaches can be validated for their applicability to device performance and durability. By coupling these nodes to evaluate standard materials and creating links between properties under different measurement (in-situ vs. ex-situ) conditions, this supernode will both advance understanding of current systems and demonstrate the increased value of cooperatively applying multiple nodes to advance material development.

Materials advances are required to improve the cost, performance, and durability of low temperature electrolysis (LTE)/Hybrid electrolysis devices. Most materials advances are screened through ex-situ testing protocols due to ease of measurement and throughput. However, properties measured ex-situ are not always relevant for device operation and can be influenced by a number of factors, including synthesis/processing parameters and operating conditions of the individual tests. As the lead National Labs for HydroGEN, the most critical core support role we can provide for partners is in the optimized integration of novel materials, and the verification that ex-situ results have merit for operating systems. Of the LTE Topic 2A seedling projects, all include efforts in MEA fabrication and cell testing, but do not specifically address studies of fabrication/processing on observed performance. This area has been more widely studied in fuel cells and will be leveraged in these studies. Unlike fuel cells, the systems of interest for LTE/Hybrid often use much different materials sets due to high oxidation potential, high differential pressure, and/or the unique materials used for electrocatalysis. Additionally, mass transport issues and resistivity losses are different across these platforms. To develop high performance, high durability PEM LTE systems, increased studies linking the inherent properties of materials and their composition and processing to observed device performance and durability is necessary. These efforts directly support LTE efforts and the low temperature aspects of the combined hybrid cycle.