Overcoming cathode poisoning from electrolyte impurities in alkaline electrolysis by means of self-healing electrocatalyst films

Stefan Barwe, Bastian Mei, Justus Masa, Wolfgang Schuhmann*, Edgar Ventosa (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The performance of electrolyzers for hydrogen production is strongly influenced by electrolyte impurities having either a positive or negative impact on the activity of electrocatalysts. We show that cathode deactivation by zinc impurities present in the electrolyte can be overcome by employing catalyst immobilization based on self-assembled and self-healing films. During electrolysis zinc impurities deposit as dendritic films on the cathode electrode increasing the overpotential for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), however, continuous self-assembling and self-healing of HER catalyst films subsequently mask the zinc dendrites restoring the advantageous HER overpotential. Zn electrolyte impurities are turned from having a negative to a positive impact leading to an enhanced performance of the cathode due to the increase in surface area caused by the growth of the Zn dendrites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-768
Number of pages6
JournalNano energy
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Electrolysis
  • Hydrogen evolution
  • Long-term stability
  • Water splitting
  • Electrocatalysis

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