Projects // IT-PEM


Developing low-cost electrode systems based on improved iridium-titanium oxide catalyst layers to be used as anodes in PEM-electrolysis

Project objective

The energy transition process requires an expansion of the storage capacities built into the integrated grid to guarantee future security of supply despite a growing use of volatile renewable energy sources. In this regard, the production of hydrogen using polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis presents an efficient alternative for energy storage. Currently, the use of complicated titanium structures and expensive iridium catalysts—particularly in the anode—are common, due to the high electrode potential and the related corrosion. The objective of the project is to develop and study a new type of electrode structure, which improves the utilisation of the catalyst materials and thus lowers the cost of producing the electrodes.

Project innovation

The innovative approach in this research project is based on an optimised electrode architecture, in which a titanium oxide nanoparticle coating is applied onto a porous titanium substrate that acts as carrier for electrochemically precipitated iridium particles. The improved electrode architecture increases the electrode surface, which in turn means that the noble metal catalyser can be used more effectively, and this reduces the costs of the electrodes for PEM electrolysis. Consequently, thanks to the simplified cell structure, the investment costs for PEM electrolysers are lowered and SMEs can find themselves in a position to successfully market this technology and establish new areas of business.

Cyclic voltammogram
Cyclic voltammogram of titanium nanoparticles, of iridium on titanium nanoparticles and a pure iridium disc in nitrogen-flushed 0.5M H2SO4, scan rate 100 mV s-1

The final objective is to develop a demonstration electrode system for electrolysis cells in a hydraulically pressed test system. Commercially available membranes and graphite-based cathodes are pressed together with the anodes in development in order to create the membrane electrode assemblies (MEA); their performance will then be compared with commercial electrode systems.

Information on funding and further project participants

Funding code: 19817BG

Mittweida University of Applied Sciences
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Industrial Collective Research (IGF)
The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)