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

King, Laurie A ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0772-2378, Hubert, McKenzie A, Capuano, Christopher, Manco, Judith, Danilovic, Nemanja, Valle, Eduardo, Hellstern, Thomas R, Ayers, Katherine and Jaramillo, Thomas F (2019) A non-precious metal hydrogen catalyst in a commercial polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyser. Nature Nanotechnology, 14 (11). pp. 1071-1074. ISSN 1748-3387

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Abstract

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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