Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering



Nonprecious electrocatalysts for water electrolysis


Prof. Shuo Chen


University of Houston


Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 1:00:00 PM


Love Building, Room 109


Seung Woo Lee


Water electrolysis produces hydrogen gas with high purity and does not release greenhouse gas. Large-scale applications of water electrolyzers require low cost, efficient, and stable electrocatalysts. Tremendous efforts have been devoted to developing novel electrocatalysts to replace noble metal based ones. In this talk, I will introduce our recent efforts on nonprecious electrocatalysts for both cathodic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) of water electrolysis. By anchoring the electrocatalysts onto highly conductive and robust nickel foams, they exhibit high activity and stability especially under large current density of >500 mA cm-2. For example, our best electrocatalysts can reach current densities of 500 and 1000 mA cm−2 at 1.586 and 1.657 V, respectively. I will also present our understandings of the high HER performance based on density functional theory calculations on water activation and hydrogen adsorption on these electrocatalysts in acidic and alkaline electrolytes.


: Dr. Chen is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Houston. She obtained her B. S. in Physics from Peking University in China in 2002 and then Ph. D. in Physics from Boston College in 2006. Her research focuses on materials physics, especially synthesis and in situ electron microscopy of nanostructural materials for energy conversion and storage, such as thermoelectric materials, electrocatalysts, and batteries. Dr. Chen is the recipient of the Robert A. Welch Professorship.