Projects & Fundings
SpinCat - Spin-polarized Catalysts for Energy-Efficient AEM Water Electrolysis
Hydrogen gas (H2) has been identified as one of the priority areas for clean, affordable and secure energy to replace oil and gas. At present the most promising clean technology to produce H2 is the water electrolysis based on renewable energy. However its wide implementation is hindered by the use of rare and expensive platinum groups metals (PGMs) to catalyse the cathodic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and the anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER). In this context is utmost importance for Europe to develop efficient PGM-free catalysts. SpinCat addresses this need by realizing a new class of magnetic earth-abundant catalysts that, through spin polarization, will boost catalytic activity towards OER by a factor of three as compared to state-of-the-art catalysts. Further enhancements to catalytic activity will be obtained through the use of external magnetic field during catalysis.
Through an interplay of experiment and theory, we will design and prepare catalyst materials featuring optimal spin polarization effects, gain fundamental knowledge on the parameters affecting the OER activity of magnetic materials, and develop a general theoretical model for the overall description of the influence of the electron spin in electrocatalysis. The technology will be demonstrated in a magnetically enhanced anion-exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser prototype, which merges the benefits of both internal and external magnetic effects. The long-term vision of SpinCat is to establish cost-effective H2 production via reducing the cost of membrane-based electrolyser technology by omitting the need of PGMs. This project will contribute to establishing Europe as the world leader in electrolyser technology for renewable H2 production.