Ribot-Llobet, Edgar; Nam, Joo-Youn; Tokash, Justin C.; Guisasola, Albert; Logan, Bruce E.(International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Elsevier BV, 2013-03)[Article]
Nickel foam (NF), stainless steel wool (SSW), platinum coated stainless steel mesh (Pt), and molybdenum disulfide coated stainless steel mesh (MoS 2) electrodes have been proposed as catalysts for hydrogen gas production, but previous tests have primarily examined their performance in well buffered solutions. These materials were compared using two-chamber microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), and linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) in unbuffered saline solutions at two different initial pHs (7 and 12). There was generally no appreciable effect of initial pH on production rates or total gas production. NF produced hydrogen gas at a rate of 1.1 m3 H2/m 3·d, which was only slightly less than that using Pt (1.4 m3 H2/m3·d), but larger than that obtained with SSW (0.52 m3 H2/m3·d) or MoS2 (0.67 m3 H2/m3·d). Overall hydrogen gas recoveries with SSW (29.7 ± 0.5 mL), MoS2 (28.6 ± 1.3 mL) and NF (32.4 ± 2 mL) were only slightly less than that of Pt (37.9 ± 0.5 mL). Total energy recoveries, based on the gas produced versus electrical energy input, ranged from 0.75 ± 0.02 for Pt, to 0.55 ± 0.02 for SSW. An LSV analysis showed no effect of pH for NF and Pt, but overpotentials were reduced for MoS2 and SSW by using an initial lower pH. At cathode potentials more negative than -0.85 V (vs Ag/AgCl), NF had lower overpotentials than the MoS2. These results provide the first assessment of these materials under practical conditions of high pH in unbuffered saline catholytes, and position NF as the most promising inexpensive alternative to Pt.
Ivanov, Ivan; Ahn, YongTae; Poirson, Thibault; Hickner, Michael A.; Logan, Bruce(International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Elsevier BV, 2017-06-02)[Article]
Nafion is commonly used as a catalyst binder in many types of electrochemical cells, but less expensive binders are needed for the cathodes in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) which are operated in neutral pH buffers, and reverse electrodialysis stacks (RED),which use thermolytic solutions such as ammonium bicarbonate. Six different binders were examined based on differences in ion exchange properties (anionic: Nafion, BPSH20, BPSH40, S-Radel; cationic: Q-Radel; and neutral: Radel, BAEH) and hydrophobicity based on water uptake (0%, Radel; 17–56% for the other binders). BPSH40 had similar performance to Nafion based on steady-state polarization single electrode experiments in a neutral pH phosphate buffer, and slightly better performance in ammonium bicarbonate. Three different Mo-based catalysts were examined as alternatives to Pt, with MoB showing the best performance under steady-state polarization. In MECs, MoB/BPSH40 performed similarly to Pt with Nafion or Radel binders. The main distinguishing feature of the BPSH40 was that it is very hydrophilic, and thus it had a greater water content (56%) than the other binders (0–44%). These results suggest the binders for hydrogen evolution in MECs should be designed to have a high water content without sacrificing ionic or electronic conductivity in the electrode.
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