Bifunctional Catalyst for Splitting Water

Technical Summary

•  Dr. Yujie Sun of the Chemistry & Biochemistry department at Utah State University has developed a bifunctional catalyst for overall water splitting.

•  One of the challenges to realize large-scale water splitting is the lack of active and low-cost electrocatalysts for its two half reactions: H2 and O2 evolution reactions (HER and OER).  Researchers report that cobalt-phosphorous-derived films (Co-P) can act as bifunctional catalysts for overall water splitting. The as-prepared Co-P films exhibited remarkable catalytic performance for both HER and OER in alkaline media.  It can be employed as catalysts on both anode and cathode for overall water splitting with 100% Faradaic efficiency, rivaling the integrated performance of Pt and IrO2. Various characterization techniques were used to probe the Co-P films after catalysis, revealing the major composition of the as-prepared and post-HER films are metallic cobalt and cobalt phosphide, which partially evolved to cobalt oxide/phosphate during OER.

Commercial Applications

•  Bifunctional electrocatalyst which can catalyze hydrogen and oxygen generation from water splitting under the same condition

•  Potential commercial partners:

•  Fuel cell companies

•  Energy related companies

•  Transportation companies

•  Can be incorporated into water electrolyzers

•  Renewable energy generation

Competitive Advantages

•  A single catalyst is needed for H2 and O2 evolution reactions (HER and OER)

•  Cleaner hydrogen and oxygen (chemistry-wise)

•  Bifunctional catalyst uses lower electrical power to generate hydrogen

•  More cost effective than platinum (HER – highly acidic conditions), IrO2 (OER – highly basic conditions), and RuO2 (OER – highly basic conditions)

•  Abundantly available materials

•  Easier to manufacture because of electro deposition under ambient condition with low cost starting material

•  Environmentally friendly

•  Produces clean O2 and H2

•  Carbon free

•  Uses same flow of electricity throughout

•  If catalyst works well, 100% of electrons will be used in flow


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Christian Iverson
Utah State University
Yujie Sun Nan Jiang Bo You