H2 Production by Water Splitting in Acidic Media

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materials Article Pd–Co-Based Electrodes for Hydrogen Production by Water Splitting in Acidic Media Bernardo Patella 1, Claudio Zanca 1, Fabrizio Ganci 1,2 , Sonia Carbone 1, Francesco Bonafede 1, Giuseppe Aiello 1 , Rosario Miceli 1 , Filippo Pellitteri 1 , Philippe Mandin 3 and Rosalinda Inguanta 1,* 1 2 3 * Correspondence: rosalinda.inguanta@unipa.it Abstract: To realize the benefits of a hydrogen economy, hydrogen must be produced cleanly, efficiently and affordably from renewable resources and, preferentially, close to the end-users. The goal is a sustainable cycle of hydrogen production and use: in the first stage of the cycle, hydrogen is produced from renewable resources and then used to feed a fuel cell. This cycle produces no pollution and no greenhouse gases. In this context, the development of electrolyzers producing high-purity hydrogen with a high efficiency and low cost is of great importance. Electrode materials play a fundamental role in influencing electrolyzer performances; consequently, in recent years considerable efforts have been made to obtain highly efficient and inexpensive catalyst materials. To reach both goals, we have developed electrodes based on Pd–Co alloys to be potentially used in the PEMEL electrolyzer. In fact, the Pd–Co alloy is a valid alternative to Pt for hydrogen evolution. The alloys were electrodeposited using two different types of support: carbon paper, to fabricate a porous structure, and anodic alumina membrane, to obtain regular arrays of nanowires. The goal was to obtain electrodes with very large active surface areas and a small amount of material. The research demonstrates that the electrochemical method is an ideal technique to obtain materials with good performances for the hydrogen evolution reaction. The Pd–Co alloy composition can be controlled by adjusting electrodeposition parameters (bath composition, current density and deposition time). The main results concerning the fabrication process and the characterization are presented and the performance in acid conditions is discussed. Keywords: green hydrogen; electrolyzers; Pd–Co alloys; nanowires; template electrosynthesis; acidic media 1. Introduction In recent years, the need to use fuels that are alternatives to conventional hydrocarbons has been increasingly growing. The indiscriminate use of fossil fuels is no longer sustain- able, due to their limited availability and high environmental impact [1,2]. In the vast scenario concerning both fuels and energy conversion devices, electrochemical systems play a crucial role for hydrogen production and energy accumulation (primary and secondary cells and supercapacitors) as well as electricity production by means of fuel cells [3,4]. In particular, hydrogen obtained from the electrolysis of water is proposed as an alternative to fossil fuels in many applications [5,6]. There are several electrolyzer technologies (Al- kaline [7–9], Proton Exchange Membrane (PEMEL) [10–12], anion exchange membrane (AEM) [13–16] and Solid Oxide Electrolyzer [17–19]) with a different degree of technological and commercial maturity. Generally, the energy used for electrochemical water splitting determines the “quality” of hydrogen and the associated environmental load [20,21]. In particular, the production of green hydrogen (i.e., hydrogen produced with energy from renewable sources) appears interesting, due to the absence of carbon dioxide emissions Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy Corpo Nazione dei Vigili del Fuoco, 41126 Rome, Italy IRDL UMR CNRS 6027, Université de Bretagne Sud, 56100 Lorient, France Citation: Patella, B.; Zanca, C.; Ganci, F.; Carbone, S.; Bonafede, F.; Aiello, G.; Miceli, R.; Pellitteri, F.; Mandin, P.; Inguanta, R. Pd–Co-Based Electrodes for Hydrogen Production by Water Splitting in Acidic Media. Materials 2023,16,474. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/ma16020474 Academic Editor: Aleksey Yaremchenko Received: 18 August 2022 Revised: 15 November 2022 Accepted: 22 December 2022 Published: 4 January 2023 Copyright: © 2023 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 2023, 16, 474. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16020474 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/materials

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