UNIST researchers develop high-performance perovskite oxide catalysts using late transition metal oxide materials

A research team, jointly led by Professor Gun-Tae Kim and Professor Jun-Hee Lee in the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at South-Korea's UNIST has succeeded in developing high-performance perovskite oxide catalysts using late transition metal oxide materials. In the process, the team discovered the reason behind the improved performance of both the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER), which has been explained by the change in the oxidation state of the transition metal caused by the increase in oxygen vacancies.

Perovskite oxide catalysts are composed of lanthanide, transition metal and oxygen. Owing to the excellent electrical conductivity and bifunctional ORR/OER activity, these catalysts have been considered to be an attractive candidate for metal-air batteries or fuel cells, in which opposite reactions, such as charging and discharging occur steadily. However, due to the high cost and low stability of noble metal catalysts, the development of alternatives is strongly desired.

ANU team pushes forward the efficiency of solar-to-hydrogen production

Australian National University (ANU) researchers have managed to push forward the efficiency of solar-to-hydrogen production that bypasses electrolysers and avoids AC/DC power conversion and transmission losses. They have recently managed to reach 17.6% efficiency, achieved with perovskite-silicon tandem absorbers, and they say their process is open to further refinement that could see clean hydrogen production become cost competitive with other fuels, including brown hydrogen and gas, more quickly than expected.

Perovskite-Si dual-absorber tandem PEC cell for self-driven water splitting by ANU imagePerovskite-Si dual-absorber tandem PEC cell for self-driven water splitting. a) Schematic showing a perovskite solar cell wired to a Si photo-cathode in tandem, and a DSA anode. b) A representative general energy band diagram. Image: ANU

Australian National University (ANU) researchers, in a newly-released study lead by Dr. Siva Krishna Karuturi and Dr. Heping Shen, state that although PV modules have become a commercially viable method large-scale renewable energy generation, “Achieving global renewable energy transition further relies on addressing the intermittency of solar electricity through the development of transportable energy storage means.”

INL team develops new perovskite-based electrode material for simpler hydrogen generation and energy storage

A team of researchers from Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has developed a new electrode material that simplifies hydrogen generation and energy storage via protonic, ceramic electrochemical cells (PCECs).

The INL team developed a perovskite-based oxygen electrode that not only enables operation at considerably lower temperatures than current technologies require (400–600ºC), but also exhibits “triple-conducting” behavior — it can conduct electrons, oxygen ions and protons within a PCEC.

A perovskite electrode may improve hydrogen production

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have used an oxide of perovskite to create an oxygen electrode for use in electrochemical cells used for hydrolysis-based hydrogen production.

The researchers claim the perovskite oxide could help such cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity without additional hydrogen.

Rice scientists combine perovskite solar cells and catalytic electrodes to produce electricity

Rice University researchers have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel. The platform integrates catalytic electrodes and perovskite solar cells that, when triggered by sunlight, produce electricity. The current flows to the catalysts that turn water into hydrogen and oxygen, with a sunlight-to-hydrogen efficiency as high as 6.7%.

A schematic and electron microscope cross-section show the structure of an integrated, solar-powered catalyst to split water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen imageA schematic and electron microscope cross-section show the structure of an integrated, solar-powered catalyst to split water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen. Illustration by Jia Liang

This sort of catalysis isn't new, but the lab packaged a perovskite layer and the electrodes into a single module that, when dropped into water and placed in sunlight, produces hydrogen with no further input.