A practical, organic-mediated, hybrid electrolyser that decouples hydrogen production at high current densities

Kirkaldy, N. , Chisholm, G. , Chen, J.-J. and Cronin, L. (2018) A practical, organic-mediated, hybrid electrolyser that decouples hydrogen production at high current densities. Chemical Science, 9(6), pp. 1621-1626. (doi:10.1039/C7SC05388F) (PMID:29675207) (PMCID:PMC5887965)

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Abstract

Hydrogen is seen as a sustainable fuel of the future, yet the vast majority of global hydrogen production comes from the reformation of fossil fuels. Electrolytic water splitting using proton exchange membrane electrolysers (PEMEs) provides a pathway to sustainable hydrogen production through coupling to renewable energy sources, but can suffer from gas crossover at low current densities and high operating pressures, causing explosive gas mixtures and decreasing cell lifetimes. Here we demonstrate the application of a highly stable, organic electron-coupled proton buffer (ECPB) which allows the decoupling of hydrogen and oxygen production during water splitting. By merging concepts from redox flow battery and PEM electrolysis research, we have built a hybrid electrolyser device capable of decoupling the gas evolution reactions during water splitting. The device improves on both gas purity and operational safety, while still working at industrially relevant, high current density. Anthraquinone-2,7-disulfonic acid was used as an organic redox mediator in this two-step process, producing H2 at current densities of up to 3.71 A cm−2 at 2.00 V, extending the concept of the ECPB.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chisholm, Dr Greig and Kirkaldy, Mr Niall and Cronin, Professor Leroy and Chen, Dr Jiajia
Authors: Kirkaldy, N., Chisholm, G., Chen, J.-J., and Cronin, L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Chemical Science
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN:2041-6520
ISSN (Online):2041-6539
Published Online:10 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry
First Published:First published in Chemical Science 9(6):1621-1626
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
577391Programmable Molecular Metal Oxides (PMMOs) - From Fundamentals to ApplicationLeroy CroninEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/J015156/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
646611Programmable 'Digital' Synthesis for Discovery and Scale-up of Molecules, Clusters and NanomaterialsLeroy CroninEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/L023652/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
562821Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC)Leroy CroninEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/I033459/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
577391Programmable Molecular Metal Oxides (PMMOs) - From Fundamentals to ApplicationLeroy CroninEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/J015156/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
616021Energy and the Physical Sciences: Hydrogen Production using a Proton Electron BufferLeroy CroninEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/K023004/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
646611Programmable 'Digital' Synthesis for Discovery and Scale-up of Molecules, Clusters and NanomaterialsLeroy CroninEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/L023652/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
621351Synthetic Biology applications to Water Supply and RemediationSteven BeaumontEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/K038885/1VPO VICE PRINCIPAL RESEARCH & ENTERPRISE
561223Plug'n Play Photosynthetic for Rubisco Independent FuelsLeroy CroninBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/M011267/1CHEM - CHEMISTRY
685741SMARTPOM: Artificial-Intelligence Driven Discovery and Synthesis of Polyoxometalate ClustersLeroy CroninEuropean Research Council (ERC)670467CHEM - CHEMISTRY