Electroplating nickel-iron alloy electrode assisted electrolysis water hydrogen production technology

January 16, 2020

The University of New South Wales in Australia recently released a report that researchers at the university invented a new type of electrode that can electrolyze water at low cost and high efficiency, and is expected to be used for mass production of clean fuels, hydrogen.

The technology uses a low-cost, specially coated foam-like material that allows the oxygen bubbles generated by the electrolyzed water to escape quickly, thereby increasing the efficiency of the production. Related papers were published in the recent British journal Nature Communications.

The researchers say that this electrode is by far the most efficient electrode for oxygen production in alkaline electrolytes. It uses nickel and iron as raw materials, is inexpensive, and is easy to manufacture. Unlike other electrolyzed water technologies, it requires precious rare metals as catalysts and electrode materials.

In the process of electrolyzing water, water is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen under the action of electric current. The oxygen-generating electrode has low efficiency, high cost, and needs to consume a large amount of electric power, and is one of the main technical difficulties in realizing industrial production of electrolyzed water to produce hydrogen.

The researchers used foamed nickel, which is common on the market, and electroplated it with a highly active nickel-iron alloy catalyst to make electrodes. The foamed nickel material has a number of micropores inside, about 200 microns in diameter, about twice the diameter of a human hair. The ultra-thin nickel-iron alloy coating also has a large number of micropores inside, which are about 50 nanometers in diameter.

Since the coating and the interior are filled with micropores, the new electrode has a very large surface area, which facilitates the release and escape of oxygen generated during electrolysis. The escape of oxygen bubbles is not fast enough and is a common problem of reducing electrode utilization.

The researchers said that they will further study the principles and optimize performance to help achieve low-cost hydrogen production at an early date. The combustion product of hydrogen is water, does not produce carbon dioxide and other pollutants. It is a clean and efficient energy source. If it can be produced on a large scale and low cost, it will help meet the world's growing energy demand, and reduce pollution and containment. global warming.

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