NewHydrogen, Inc., the developer of a green hydrogen generator, 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.
Green hydrogen is a versatile fuel and storage material with significant environmental benefits when compared to fossil fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Shot and the European Union’s Clean Hydrogen Alliance and the REPowerEU plan are among the many initiatives around the world setting ambitious targets for green hydrogen as a sustainable transportation fuel, to produce electricity, and to create heat for homes.
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, the 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. 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.
“We are very pleased to see the exciting progress being made in our green hydrogen program at UCLA,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of NewHydrogen. “We have great confidence in Dr. Huang and her team. We look forward to seeing these achievements to drastically reduce the cost of producing green hydrogen.”