Go Menu Go Contents Go Footer


About CAU Introduction 3depth

글자 확대축소 영역

Chung-Ang University Researchers Develop a Low-Cost Catalyst for Green Hydrogen Production

관리자 2024-01-03 Views 979


Chung-Ang University Researchers Develop a Low-Cost Catalyst for Green Hydrogen Production

A stable, reactive, and cost-effective ruthenium catalyst for sustainable hydrogen production through proton exchange membrane water electrolysis

Sustainable electrolysis for green hydrogen production is challenging, primarily due to the absence of efficient, low-cost, and stable catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction in acidic solutions. A team of researchers has now developed a ruthenium catalyst by doping it with zinc, resulting in enhanced stability and reactivity compared to its commercial version. The proposed strategy can revolutionize hydrogen production by paving the way for next generation electrocatalysts that contribute to clean energy technologies.

Image Title: Novel acidic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst SA Zn-RuO2

Image Caption: OER is important for the sustainable production of hydrogen via proton exchange member water electrolysis. Now, researchers present a novel RuO2 catalyst, stabilized by single atoms of zinc, for OER in proton exchange membrane water electrolysis. 

Image Credit: Haeseong Jang from Chung-Ang University

License Type: Original Content

Usage Restriction: Cannot be resued without permission

Electrolysis is a process that uses electricity to create hydrogen and oxygen molecules from water. The use of proton exchange membrane (PEM) and renewable energy for water electrolysis is widely regarded as a sustainable method for hydrogen production. However, a challenge in advancing PEM water electrolysis technology is the lack of efficient, low-cost, and stable catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in acidic solutions during PEM water electrolysis. While iridium-based catalysts are a potential solution, metallic iridium is rare and expensive in nature. Alternately, oxides of ruthenium (RuO2) offer a more affordable and reactive option, but they also suffer from stability issues. Therefore, researchers are exploring ways to improve the stability of the RuO2 structure to develop promising OER catalysts for the successful implementation of the hydrogen production technology.

Now, in a recent study made available online on 22 September 2023 and to be published in Volume 88 of the Journal of Energy Chemistry in January 2024, a group of researchers, led by Professor Haeseong Jang from the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering at Chung-Ang University, has developed a promising OER catalyst. Denoted as SA Zn-RuO2, the catalyst comprises of RuO2 stabilized by single atoms of zinc. Elaborating about their study, Prof. Jang says, “We were motivated by the need to find efficient and cost-effective alternative electrocatalysts for OER in PEM water electrolysis. Based on our study, we propose a dual-engineering strategy, involving single atom Zn doping and the introduction of oxygen vacancies, to balance high catalytic activity with stability during acidic OER.

The researchers synthesized SA Zn-RuO2 by heating an organic framework with ruthenium (Ru) and zinc atoms, forming a structure with oxygen vacancies (missing oxygen atoms that positively alter the properties) and Zn-O-Ru linkages. These linkages stabilize the catalyst in two ways—one, by strengthening the Ru-O bonds, and second, by providing electrons from zinc atoms to protect ruthenium from overoxidation during the OER process. Furthermore, the improved electronic environment around the ruthenium atoms lowers the energies needed for molecules to stick to the surface, thus lowering the energy barrier for the reaction. 

The resulting catalyst was more stable, with no apparent fall in reactivity, and significantly outperformed commercial RuO2. Moreover, it required less extra energy (low overpotential of 213 mV compared to 270 mV for commercial RuO2) and remained functional for a longer period (43 hours compared to 7.4 hours for commercial RuO2). 

Due to its improved stability and features, the newly proposed SA Zn-RuO2 catalyst has the potential to influence the development of cost-effective, active, and acid-resistant electrocatalysts for OER. This, in turn, could help in reducing costs and enhancing the production of green hydrogen, aiding in a shift toward cleaner energy sources and advancements in sustainable technologies.

We believe that this shift can revolutionize industries, transportation, and energy infrastructure, and contribute to the efforts aimed at combating climate change and fostering a more resilient and environmentally conscious future. This is because accessible green hydrogen can have a transformative impact on societies by mitigating environmental impacts, creating jobs, and ensuring energy security through diversified and sustainable energy solutions,” envisions Prof. Jang. 

In summary, the highly reactive and catalytically stable RuO2 catalyst for the acidic OER has increased durability and favorable characteristics, and holds immense potential for guiding the design of robust and active non-iridium-based OER electrocatalysts for practical applications!






Title of original paper





Qing Qin1, Tiantian Wang1, Zijian Li2, Guolin Zhang1, Haeseong Jang3, Liqiang Hou1, Yu Wang1, Min Gyu Kim4, Shangguo Liu1, and Xien Liu1


Tuning electronic structure of RuO2 by single atom Zn and oxygen vacancies to boost oxygen evolution reaction in acidic medium


Journal of Energy Chemistry








1College of Chemical Engineering, Qingdao University of Science and Technology

2Department of Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong

3Department of Advanced Materials Engineering, Chung-Ang University

4Beamline Research Division, Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PAL)

About Chung-Ang University

Chung-Ang University is a private comprehensive research university located in Seoul, South Korea. It was started as a kindergarten in 1916 and attained university status in 1953. It is fully accredited by the Ministry of Education of Korea. Chung-Ang University conducts research activities under the slogan of “Justice and Truth.” Its new vision for completing 100 years is “The Global Creative Leader.” Chung-Ang University offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs, which encompass a law school, management program, and medical school; it has 16 undergraduate and graduate schools each. Chung-Ang University’s culture and arts programs are considered the best in Korea.

About Professor Haeseong Jang

Professor Haeseong Jang is currently a faculty member in the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering at Chung-Ang University in the Republic of Korea. His research primarily focuses on material characterization and electrochemical analysis within the field of energy storage, with a specific focus on processes such as oxygen reduction reactions, oxygen evolution reactions, and hydrogen evolution reactions. With over 80 publications to his credit, Prof. Jang has accumulated over 3200 citations. Additionally, he has also been serving as a reviewer for several journals, including Electrochimica Acta, Applied Surface Science, and the Journal of Energy Chemistry.

Read more: https://scholarworks.bwise.kr/cau/researcher-profile?ep=1468