A new type of electrodes for alkaline water electrolysis is produced by physical vapour depositing (PVD) of aluminium onto a nickel substrate. The PVD Al/Ni is heat-treated to facilitate alloy formation followed by a selective aluminium alkaline leaching. The obtained porous Ni surface is uniform and characterized by a unique interlayer adhesion, which is critical for industrial application. IR-compensated polarisation curves prepared in a half-cell setup with 1 M KOH electrolyte at room temperature reveals that at least 400 mV less potential is needed to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen with the developed porous PVD Al/Ni electrodes as compared to solid nickel electrodes. High-resolution scanning electron microscope (HR-SEM) micrographs reveal Ni-electrode surfaces characterized by a large surface area with pores down to a few nanometre sizes. Durability tests were carried out in a commercially produced bipolar electrolyser stack. The developed electrodes showed stable behaviour under intermittent operation for over 9000 h indicating no serious deactivation in the density of active sites.
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2013, Vol 38, Issue 20, p. 8221-8231
Alkaline water electrolysis; Hydrogen evolution reaction; High surface area porous Ni; Plasma vapour deposition; Al–Ni Thermo-Chemical diffusion; Aluminium leaching; Raney nickel