For a successful transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen economy, hydrogen-producing water electrolysis technology is vital. Water electrolysis has a great advantage, in that it can be applied to renewable energy storage areas beyond hydrogen fuel cells. The practical limit of renewable energy due to unstable energy production can be circumvented if the energy can be stored at times of excess production using water electrolysis. This can allow grids to be supplied with a stable amount of energy from renewable sources.
Currently, catalysts are the biggest obstacle for rapid application of water electrolysis. In particular, the slow reaction of OER catalysts continue to suppress the lowering of the unit price of hydrogen production. Furthermore, another major obstacle is finding an appropriate support with both good conductivity and durability against corrosion at operating voltages higher than 1.23V.
Our lab is focused on research to reduce the production cost of water electrolysis by studying various catalysts and supports for water electrolysis, as well as the interaction between the two materials. In particular, we are focused on catalyst engineering that enables long-term operation without sacrificing durability and the performance of the catalyst. Moreover, we are focused on investigating supports that can maintain both durability and morphology, even at high operating voltage conditions.