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  Acidic or alkaline? Towards a new perspective on the efficiency of water electrolysis

Schalenbach, M., Tjarks, G., Carmo, M., Lüke, W., Müller, M., & Stolten, D. (2016). Acidic or alkaline? Towards a new perspective on the efficiency of water electrolysis. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 163(11), F3197-F3208. doi:10.1149/2.0271611jes.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-B9B9-E Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-B9BA-D
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Schalenbach, Maximilian1, 2, Author              
Tjarks, Geert2, Author              
Carmo, Marcelo2, Author              
Lüke, Wiebke2, Author              
Müller, Martin2, Author              
Stolten, Detlef2, 3, Author              
Affiliations:
1Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society, ou_1863354              
2Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering, Jülich, Germany, persistent22              
3Department of Fuel Cells, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany, persistent22              

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Free keywords: Catalysts; Efficiency; Electrocatalysts; Electrolysis; Electrolytes; Electrolytic cells; Filled polymers; Hydrogen; Hydrogen storage; Iridium; Polyelectrolytes; Separators, Acidic polymers; Alkaline electrolytes; Ni-based catalyst; Pt-based catalyst; Reaction mechanism; State of the art; Voltage-current characteristics; Water electrolysis, Produced Water
 Abstract: Water electrolysis is a promising technology for enabling the storage of surplus electricity produced by intermittent renewable power sources in the form of hydrogen. At the core of this technology is the electrolyte, and whether this is acidic or alkaline affects the reaction mechanisms, gas purities and is of significant importance for the stability and activity of the electrocatalysts. This article presents a simple but precise physical model to describe the voltage-current characteristic, heat balance, gas crossover and cell efficiency of water electrolyzers. State-of-the-art water electrolysis cells with acidic and alkaline electrolyte are experimentally characterized in order to parameterize the model. A rigorous comparison shows that alkaline water electrolyzers with Ni-based catalysts but thinner separators than those typically used is expected be more efficient than acidic water electrolysis with Ir and Pt based catalysts. This performance difference was attributed mainly to a similar conductivity but approximately 38-fold higher diffusivities of hydrogen and oxygen in the acidic polymer electrolyte membrane (Nafion) than those in the alkaline separator (Zirfon filled with a 30 wt KOH solution). With reference to the detailed analysis of the cell characteristics, perspectives for the improvement of the efficiency of water electrolyzers are discussed. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by ECS. All rights reserved.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2016
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1149/2.0271611jes
BibTex Citekey: Schalenbach2016F3197
 Degree: -

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Title: Journal of the Electrochemical Society
  Abbreviation : J. Electrochem. Soc.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: New York, NY, USA : Electrochemical Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 163 (11) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: F3197 - F3208 Identifier: ISSN: 0013-4651
CoNE: /journals/resource/991042748197686