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Journal Article

Alkaline Water Electrolysis for Green Hydrogen Production


Tüysüz,  Harun
Research Group Tüysüz, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Tüysüz, H. (2024). Alkaline Water Electrolysis for Green Hydrogen Production. Accounts of Chemical Research, 57(4), 558-567. doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.3c00709.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000E-6C7A-1
The global energy landscape is undergoing significant change. Hydrogen is seen as the energy carrier of the future and will be a key element in the development of more sustainable industry and society. However, hydrogen is currently produced mainly from fossil fuels, and this needs to change. Alkaline water electrolysis with advanced technology has the most significant potential for this transition to produce large-scale green hydrogen by utilizing renewable energy. The assembly of industrial electrolyzer plants is more complex on a larger scale, but it follows a basic working principle, which involves two half-cells of anode and cathode sites where the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) occur. Out of the two reactions, the OER is more challenging both thermodynamically and kinetically. Besides having access to renewable electricity, developing durable and abundant electrocatalysts for the OER remains a challenge in large-scale alkaline water electrolysis. Among different physicochemical properties, the electrocatalyst surface and its interaction with water and reaction intermediates, as well as formed molecular hydrogen and oxygen, play an essential role in the catalytic performance and the reaction mechanism. In particular, the binding strengths between the catalyst surface and intermediates determine the rate-limiting step and electrocatalytic performance.

This Account gives some insights into the status of the hydrogen economy and basic principles of alkaline water electrolysis by covering its fundamentals as well as industrial developments. Further, the HER and OER reaction mechanisms of alkaline water electrolysis and selected electrocatalyst progress for both half-reactions are briefly discussed. The Adsorbate Evolution Mechanism and the Lattice Oxygen Mechanism for the OER are explained with specific references. This Account also deliberates on the author’s selected contributions to the development of transition metal-based electrocatalysts for alkaline water electrolysis with an emphasis on OER. The focus is particularly given to the enhancement of intrinsic activity, the role of eg-filling, phase segregation, and defect structure of cobalt-based electrocatalysts for OER. Structural modification and phase transformation of the cobalt oxide electrocatalyst under working conditions are further deliberated. In addition, the creation of new active surface species and the activation of cobalt- and nickel-based electrocatalysts through iron uptake from the alkaline electrolyte are discussed. In the end, this Account provides a brief overview of challenges related to large-scale production and utilization of green hydrogen.