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La–Sr–Co oxide catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction in anion exchange membrane water electrolyzer: The role of electrode fabrication on performance and durability

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Journal of Power Sources
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Anion exchange membrane water electrolysis is an attractive technology for low-cost generation of “green” hydrogen by combining the use of noble metal-free catalysts with pure water feed. By thus addressing main drawbacks of the liquid alkaline electrolysis and proton exchange membrane water electrolysis, anion exchange membrane water electrolysis stands an excellent chance of replacing the two technologies. The development of active and stable platinum group metal (PGM)-free catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is crucial for making anion exchange membrane water electrolyzers (AEMWEs) practical. Here, we synthesized, characterized and tested two La–Sr–Co oxide-based OER catalysts. First, we characterized the catalysts by XRD, SEM, and N2 physisorption and assessed their OER activity in a three-electrode cell. Next, we focused on electrode fabrication, demonstrating the importance of catalyst-ink application to the porous transport layers (PTLs) and a key role of adding a binder to the catalyst ink to prevent the catalyst detachment from the PTL in pure water. We tested three membrane electrode assemblies prepared using different formulations of the anode catalyst ink. The results show that the optimum ink formulation is essential for the performance on pure-water feed by maximizing OH− conductivity of the catalyst layer and catalyst-membrane interface.