Anode Electrodes Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis

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materials Article Studying Performance and Kinetic Differences between Various Anode Electrodes in Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis Cell Zhenye Kang 1,* , Zihao Fan 1, Fan Zhang 2, Zhenyu Zhang 2, Chao Tian 2, Weina Wang 2, Jing Li 1, Yijun Shen 1 and Xinlong Tian 1,* 1 2 * Correspondence: zkang@hainanu.edu.cn (Z.K.); tianxl@hainanu.edu.cn (X.T.) Abstract: The electrode, as one of the most critical components in a proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) cell for hydrogen production, has a significant impact on cell performance. Electrodes that are fabricated via various techniques may exhibit different morphologies or properties, which might change the kinetics and resistances of the PEMWE. In this study, we have successfully fabricated several electrodes by different techniques, and the effects of electrode coating methods (ultrasonic spray, blade coating, and rod coating), hot press, and decal transfer processes are compre- hensively investigated. The performance differences between various electrodes are due to kinetic or high frequency resistance changes, while the influences are not significant, with the biggest deviation of about 26 mV at 2.0 A cm−2. In addition, the effects of catalyst ink compositions, including ionomer to catalyst ratio (0.1 to 0.3), water to alcohol ratio (1:1 to 3:1), and catalyst weight percentage (10% to 30%), are also studied, and the electrodes’ performance variations are less than 10 mV at 2.0 A cm−2. The results show that the PEMWE electrode has superior compatibility and redundancy, which demonstrates the high flexibility of the electrode and its applicability for large-scale manufacturing. Keywords: water electrolysis; hydrogen production; electrode; kinetics; ink composition 1. Introduction Sustainable energy systems always include various renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, hydro, etc., but those renewable energy sources are intermittent within hours, days, or even seasons, which are nonreliable and cannot be directly connected to the current electric grid [1–4]. Therefore, an ideal energy carrier that can mitigate the differ- ences between energy supplies and demands is critical for developing sustainable energy systems [5–9]. Hydrogen accounts for about only 2% of the world energy consumption at present, while it has been proposed as one of the most promising energy carriers in the next few decades by most of the governments in the world to achieve carbon emission reductions [10–13], due to its high energy density, low weight, environmentally friendly, and abundant reserves in water [14–18]. Proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) has been regarded as a promising technology for hydrogen production via water splitting [19–22]. PEMWE can be operated at a high current density that enables high hydrogen production rate [23–26], and quickly starts or stops, which fits well with intermit- tent renewable energy sources [27]. Therefore, a lot of researchers have paid attention to PEMWE technology and targeted at its commercialization, due to its advantages compared to other hydrogen production techniques [28–32]. In a PEMWE device, one of the main components is the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which typically consists of catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) and porous transport State Key Laboratory of Marine Resource Utilization in South China Sea, Hainan Provincial Key Lab of Fine Chemistry, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China Hainan New Energy Investment Co., Ltd., State Power Investment Corporation, Limited (Hainan), Haikou 570100, China Citation: Kang, Z.; Fan, Z.; Zhang, F.; Zhang, Z.; Tian, C.; Wang, W.; Li, J.; Shen, Y.; Tian, X. Studying Performance and Kinetic Differences between Various Anode Electrodes in Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis Cell. Materials 2022, 15, 7209. https://doi.org/10.3390/ ma15207209 Academic Editor: Daniel John Blackwood Received: 7 September 2022 Accepted: 10 October 2022 Published: 16 October 2022 Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affil- iations. Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). Materials 2022, 15, 7209. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15207209 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/materials

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