The picture shows the designed 3D electrode: it manages the bubble migration in the gas escape reaction at high current density.
Alkaline water electrolysis is touted as a way to build a hydrogen economy by converting intermittent renewable energy into clean hydrogen-based chemical energy.
However, the current technology only achieves low current density and low voltage efficiency.
In order to make the electrolysis technology more valuable, a team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), in cooperation with the University of California, Santa Cruz and two other institutions, developed a 3D printing electrode that can reduce the number of electrolysis processes. The problem caused by the bubbles generated in the.
One of the keys to achieving higher current density in electrolysis is the bubbles generated during the electrolysis process. Air bubbles often mix together, causing blockages and getting trapped, making it difficult for them to escape.
The lead author of a paper published by LLNL in “Advanced Energy Materials”, LLNL materials scientist Cheng Zhu (Cheng Zhu) said: “This new electrode can eliminate air bubbles faster. You don’t want air bubbles to be trapped in the material. ; You have to take them out as fuel as quickly as possible.”
The new electrode with a unique 3D printing structure inhibits the coalescence, interference and capture of bubbles, and causes the bubbles to be released quickly. The research team found that the current density in the structure was 50 times the laboratory standard.
The team also used simulations to figure out how the gas formed, how it escaped, and how quickly it escaped. Because you cannot see this process inside the electrode, simulation is crucial in the design.
Rongpei Shi, a materials scientist at LLNL who performed the simulation, said: “This model helped us figure out the basic science of what we are seeing. The electrode is not transparent, so you can’t see what’s going on inside. This controlled platform And the model is unprecedentedly important for understanding the physical phenomena inside the electrode.”
This work demonstrates a new method for designing 3D electrodes that can achieve rapid bubble transport and release, thereby enhancing the overall catalytic activity of the electrode at commercially relevant current densities.
Brandon Wood, Deputy Project Leader of Hydrogen and Computational Energy Materials of the LLNL Materials Science Department and co-author of this paper, said: “A lot of work has been done on the material side of electrolysis, including finding electrodes. Catalyst materials. Our research team found that the actual structure of the components is equally important, especially at high productivity.”
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