APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Electrolyzers for hydrogen production
- Improves the performance and efficiency of the cell, the durability of the electrodes, and utilization of lower loadings of iridium in the catalyst layer
- Reduces operating costs in comparison to previous methods
- A more cost-effective approach to modify interfaces compared to conventional microporous layer strategies
- Porous transport layers (PTL) are critical components within the water electrolyzer cell. They mediate two phase transport of water and oxygen, through plane towards the catalyst layer and in plane the interfacial kinetics with the catalyst layer, which also requires electronic conductivity. Tuning the bulk and surface of PTLs can improve the transport and kinetics of oxygen evolution reaction.
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a laser ablation process that allows adjusting of the in-plane and through-plane properties of the PTL in order to improve transport and kinetics of the oxygen evolution reaction. Using a laser (e.g., a fiber laser ) to ablate the surface of the PTL increased the surface area and improved the interface with the catalyst layer, while milling holes in the bulk of the PTL improved transport.
The process was demonstrated on two commercial PTL material structures in a laboratory scale proton exchange membrane electrolyzer. It can be applied to a bulk porous metal structure in order to adjust the interfacial and bulk properties as a subsequent processing step after fabrication.
The invention improves the performance of the cell, resulting in improved efficiency, as well as improves the durability of the electrodes by tuning the interfacial properties of PTLs and catalyst layer. It also enables low-loaded iridium electrodes for water electrolysis. These advantages reduce the levelized cost of hydrogen production.
The researchers are also working on a catalyst deposition process that reduces catalyst loading, reducing cost without sacrificing performance.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jason Lee, Tobias Shuler, et al, Interfacial engineering via laser ablation for high-performing PEM water electrolysis, Applied Energy, Volume 336, 15 April 2023, 120853
- Nemanja Danilovic
- Jason Keonhag Lee
- Iryna Zenyuk
- Adam Weber
- Xiong Peng
- Devashish Shashikant Kulkarni
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.