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Publication . Article . Other literature type . 2022

Rhodium-based cathodes with ultra-low metal loading to increase the sustainability in the hydrogen evolution reaction

Gema Pérez; Guillermo Díaz-Sainz; Lucía Gómez-Coma; Lucía Álvarez-Miguel; Aymeric Garnier; Nolwenn Cabon; Alfredo Ortiz; +2 Authors
Open Access
Published: 01 Jun 2022
Publisher: HAL CCSD

Climate change mitigation is one of the main global challenges in the 21st century. In this context, the recent 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26-Glasgow) claimed for searching urgent and efficient measures to reduce and ultimately avoid CO2 emissions. Thus, many efforts from the scientific community focus on the research of new and renewable energy sources (RES). Among other approaches, green hydrogen, which comes from water electrolysis, is a promising candidate to be considered in the energy panorama. However, commercial electrolyzers are provided with Pt/C and Ir-based electrocatalytic materials, which are expensive and not abundant, to catalyze the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) in safe, stable, inexpensive, and environmentaly friendly conditions. Thus, this work aims to synthesize high-performance and very low metal loading catalysts by immobilizing a Rh-based organometallic complex (RhCp*Cl(phendiamine)]Cl) on a carbon black support following a robust synthesis procedure. Advanced characterization of the synthesized materials confirmed that ultra-low metal loadings in the range of 3.2-4.7 mg·g-1 were successfully reached. Subsequently, Rh-based catalysts were tested in a PEM electrolyzer. For metal loadings as low as 0.0066 mg·cm-2 competitive cell potentials of 1.9V were achieved working with 0.5A·cm-2 geometric current density at 70°C. These results are comparable to those obtained with Pt-based commercial cathodes working under similar operation conditions. Thus, the results of this research make a step forward in the substitution of conventional cathodes for the electrolytic HER by new materials with very low metal loadings. The authors of this work would like to show their gratitude to the financial support from the European Regional Development Fund in the framework of the Interreg Atlantic program through the project “HYLANTIC”-EAPA_204/2016”. The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation has also supported this work through the project PLEC2021-007718.


HER, PEM Electrolyzer, Organometallic catalysis, Rh-based electrocatalysts, Low-metal loading, Hydrogen evolution reaction, [CHIM.CATA]Chemical Sciences/Catalysis, Process Chemistry and Technology, Pollution, Waste Management and Disposal, Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous), HER, PEM Electrolyzer, organometallic catalysis, Rh-based electrocatalysts, Lowmetal loading, hydrogen evolution reaction

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