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Review Article | Open Access

Status and perspectives of key materials for PEM electrolyzer

Kexin Zhang1,§Xiao Liang1,§Lina Wang1Ke Sun1Yuannan Wang1Zhoubing Xie1Qiannan Wu1Xinyu Bai1Mohamed S. Hamdy2Hui Chen1( )Xiaoxin Zou1( )
State Key Laboratory of Inorganic Synthesis and Preparative Chemistry, College of Chemistry, Jilin University, Changchun 130012, China
Catalysis Research Group (CRG), Department of Chemistry, College of Science, King Khalid University, Abha 61413, Saudi Arabia

§ Kexin Zhang and Xiao Liang contributed equally to this work.

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Graphical Abstract


Proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer (PEMWE) represents a promising technology for the sustainable production of hydrogen, which is capable of efficiently coupling to intermittent electricity from renewable energy sources (e.g., solar and wind). The technology with compact stack structure has many notable advantages, including large current density, high hydrogen purity, and great conversion efficiency. However, the use of expensive electrocatalysts and construction materials leads to high hydrogen production costs and limited application. In this review, recent advances made in key materials of PEMWE are summarized. First, we present a brief overview about the basic principles, thermodynamics, and reaction kinetics of PEMWE. We then describe the cell components of PEMWE and their respective functions, as well as discuss the research status of key materials such as membrane, electrocatalysts, membrane electrode assemblies, gas diffusion layer, and bipolar plate. We also attempt to clarify the degradation mechanisms of PEMWE under a real operating environment, including catalyst degradation, membrane degradation, bipolar plate degradation, and gas diffusion layer degradation. We finally propose several future directions for developing PEMWE through devoting more efforts to the key materials.



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Nano Research Energy
Article number: 9120032
Cite this article:
Zhang K, Liang X, Wang L, et al. Status and perspectives of key materials for PEM electrolyzer. Nano Research Energy, 2022, 1: 9120032.










Received: 10 August 2022
Revised: 03 September 2022
Accepted: 04 September 2022
Published: 12 October 2022
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Tsinghua University Press.

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