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Title: Thin film surface modifications of thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers for high-efficiency proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells

We present that a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell (PEMEC) is one of the most promising devices for high-efficiency and low-cost energy storage and ultrahigh purity hydrogen production. As one of the critical components in PEMECs, the titanium thin/tunable LGDL (TT-LGDL) with its advantages of small thickness, planar surface, straight-through pores, and well-controlled pore morphologies, achieved superior multifunctional performance for hydrogen and oxygen production from water splitting even at low temperature. Different thin film surface treatments on the novel TT-LGDLs for enhancing the interfacial contacts and PEMEC performance were investigated both in-situ and ex-situ for the first time. Surface modified TT-LGDLs with about 180 nm thick Au thin film yielded performance improvement (voltage reduction), from 1.6849 V with untreated TT-LGDLs to only 1.6328 V with treated TT-LGDLs at 2.0 A/cm 2 and 80°C. Furthermore, the hydrogen/oxygen production rate was increased by about 28.2% at 1.60 V and 80°C. The durability test demonstrated that the surface treated TT-LGDL has good stability as well. Finally, the gold electroplating surface treatment is a promising method for the PEMEC performance enhancement and titanium material protection even in harsh environment.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Nanodynamics and High-Efficiency Lab for Propulsion and Power (NanoHELP), Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering, UT Space Institute
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5900-70128
Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; FE0011585; AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 206; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Publisher:
Elsevier
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; liquid/gas diffusion layers; surface treatment; proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells; electroplating; water splitting; hydrogen/oxygen production
OSTI Identifier:
1393374
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1435298

Kang, Zhenye, Mo, Jingke, Yang, Gaoqiang, Li, Yifan, Talley, Derrick A., Retterer, Scott T., Cullen, David A., Toops, Todd J., Brady, Michael P., Bender, Guido, Pivovar, Bryan S., Green, Johney B., and Zhang, Feng-Yuan. Thin film surface modifications of thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers for high-efficiency proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.004.
Kang, Zhenye, Mo, Jingke, Yang, Gaoqiang, Li, Yifan, Talley, Derrick A., Retterer, Scott T., Cullen, David A., Toops, Todd J., Brady, Michael P., Bender, Guido, Pivovar, Bryan S., Green, Johney B., & Zhang, Feng-Yuan. Thin film surface modifications of thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers for high-efficiency proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells. United States. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.004.
Kang, Zhenye, Mo, Jingke, Yang, Gaoqiang, Li, Yifan, Talley, Derrick A., Retterer, Scott T., Cullen, David A., Toops, Todd J., Brady, Michael P., Bender, Guido, Pivovar, Bryan S., Green, Johney B., and Zhang, Feng-Yuan. 2017. "Thin film surface modifications of thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers for high-efficiency proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells". United States. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.004. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1393374.
@article{osti_1393374,
title = {Thin film surface modifications of thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers for high-efficiency proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells},
author = {Kang, Zhenye and Mo, Jingke and Yang, Gaoqiang and Li, Yifan and Talley, Derrick A. and Retterer, Scott T. and Cullen, David A. and Toops, Todd J. and Brady, Michael P. and Bender, Guido and Pivovar, Bryan S. and Green, Johney B. and Zhang, Feng-Yuan},
abstractNote = {We present that a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell (PEMEC) is one of the most promising devices for high-efficiency and low-cost energy storage and ultrahigh purity hydrogen production. As one of the critical components in PEMECs, the titanium thin/tunable LGDL (TT-LGDL) with its advantages of small thickness, planar surface, straight-through pores, and well-controlled pore morphologies, achieved superior multifunctional performance for hydrogen and oxygen production from water splitting even at low temperature. Different thin film surface treatments on the novel TT-LGDLs for enhancing the interfacial contacts and PEMEC performance were investigated both in-situ and ex-situ for the first time. Surface modified TT-LGDLs with about 180 nm thick Au thin film yielded performance improvement (voltage reduction), from 1.6849 V with untreated TT-LGDLs to only 1.6328 V with treated TT-LGDLs at 2.0 A/cm2 and 80°C. Furthermore, the hydrogen/oxygen production rate was increased by about 28.2% at 1.60 V and 80°C. The durability test demonstrated that the surface treated TT-LGDL has good stability as well. Finally, the gold electroplating surface treatment is a promising method for the PEMEC performance enhancement and titanium material protection even in harsh environment.},
doi = {10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.004},
journal = {Applied Energy},
number = C,
volume = 206,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {9}
}