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Towards Non Iridium High Entropy Material ElectroCATalysts for Oxygen Evolution Reaction in Acidic Media

Project description

Hydrogen from water: removing dependence on one of the scarcest elements on Earth

Splitting water molecules to free hydrogen that can be used to fuel our economies is a very promising component of our clean energy transition. Currently, the technology relies on iridium catalysts. Iridium is extremely scarce and consequently very expensive. Among the ways proposed to address this are enhancing the electrocatalysts’ efficiency, essentially getting more product for the same cost, and enhancing iridium recycling. However, even better would be replacing iridium altogether. The EU-funded HEMCAT project is planning to produce new, cost-effective and high-performance electrocatalysts as an alternative to iridium in the proton-exchange membrane water electrolysers that use it to produce hydrogen from water.


Proton-exchange-membrane water electrolyzers are one of the most promising technologies for hydrogen production. Eliminating rare and expensive iridium in current electrocatalysts for the oxygen-evolution reaction (OER) in acidic media would greatly advance this technology for application on a large scale. The objective of the HEMCAT project is to produce new, cost-effective and high-performance (active and stable) electrocatalysts and to eliminate the iridium in OER electrocatalysts. The materials of focus are high-entropy materials (HEMs) that will be prepared from high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with the anodic oxidation process. Starting HEAs will be selected, prepared in bulk form and subjected to anodic oxidation processes to synthesise high-entropy oxides (HEOs) in the form of high-surface-area nanostructured films on HEA substrates. HEOs will be converted to HEMs with various treatments and will be fully characterized in terms of stability, structure and morphology. Finally, they will be tested for electrocatalytic properties in the OER reaction with state-of-the-art characterization techniques. These will include investigations of electronic and structural properties of synthesized cutting-edge electrocatalysts using synchrotron techniques (X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements) under ex-situ, in-situ and operando conditions. HEMCAT addresses key issues in energy storage and conversion that is clean, compact, and ultimately low-cost and at the same time facilitates intra-European knowledge transfer along with direct societal impacts. The new efficient, stable and inexpensive electrocatalysts for the OER in acidic media will bridge the gap between fundamental and applied electrocatalysis and facilitate the development of advanced electrocatalysts for electrocatalytic applications.


Net EU contribution
€ 171 473,28
Piazzale europa 1
34127 Trieste

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Nord-Est Friuli-Venezia Giulia Trieste
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00