Green hydrogen is a sustainable form of energy that is produced through water electrolysis using renewable energy, for example, solar or wind power. It is advantageous due to its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, its high energy density, and its cost efficiency. It has a wide range of applications throughout industry making it a very versatile and attractive energy source.
Proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) is considered the ideal technology for producing hydrogen from renewable energy. It involves the splitting of water molecules to produce hydrogen and oxygen using an electric current; a proton exchange membrane acts to conduct the electric charge and block the flow of negatively charged electrons. The positively charged hydrogen ions then combine to form hydrogen gas.
The oxygen evolution reaction (OER) which is necessary for the production of hydrogen in this process requires large amounts of electrocatalysts. Currently, the most commonly used catalysts are based on ruthenium or iridium oxides; however, iridium is a scarce and expensive metal, and there is great interest in reducing the amount of iridium used in this way.
In a recent study, the German Aerospace Centre, the Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica, and King Abdulaziz University used X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) at Diamond to study the synthesis and performance of Ir double perovskites as potential alternatives to the currently used Ir oxide-based catalysts. These compounds have been found to display high OER activity and stability, along with lower Ir content (making them more cost-effective).
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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