Tomography Aided Development of Membrane Electrode Assemblies for PEM Water Electrolysis

Thursday, 1 June 2017: 16:20
Grand Salon B - Section 7 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
F. Hegge, S. Vierrath (IMTEK - University of Freiburg), S. Ogawa (Carnegie Mellon University), L. Zielke (IMTEK - University of Freiburg), M. Bühler (IMTEK - University of Freiburg, Hahn-Schickard), C. Klose (IMTEK - University of Freiburg), R. Zengerle (IMTEK - University of Freiburg, Hahn-Schickard), S. Litster (Carnegie Mellon University), and S. Thiele (IMTEK - University of Freiburg, Hahn-Schickard)
In polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) the anode is crucial for the overall performance. State-of-the-art anodes comprise Ir, IrOx or IrRuOx, typically bound by an ionomer and can be TiOx supported [1]. Besides the material also the microstructure of the anode has an impact on the electrolyzer’s performance as it determines catalyst accessibility and species transport [2]. Optimizing the microstructure therefore offers a potential to increase cell efficiency. In our approach we use tomographic methods in order to establish a microstructure-performance relation for PEMWE anodes (see microstructure of a FuelCellsEtc PEMWE anode in Fig.1). We then apply our findings from the reconstructed anodes in order to develop improved membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for PEMWEs with novel manufacturing and design approaches. The experimental data will then be used as input for our theoretical models.


1. Carmo, M., Fritz, D.L., Mergel, J., Stolten, D.: A comprehensive review on PEM water electrolysis. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 38(12), 4901–4934 (2013). doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.01.151

2. García-Valverde, R., Espinosa, N., Urbina, A.: Simple PEM water electrolyser model and experimental validation. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 37(2), 1927–1938 (2012). doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2011.09.027

Fig. 1 SEM image (a) and three-dimensional representation (b) of an anode catalyst layer from a FuelCellsEtc electrolysis MEA reconstructed via nano computed tomography.