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Van Marum Colloquium - Catalyzing Green Hydrogen: Tracking Iridium Oxide & Platinum Behavior During Catalysis

  • Dr. Thom Hersbach (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Stanford)
Tuesday 23 August 2022
Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden


To combat climate change, humanity needs to eliminate its use of fossil fuels. Although this transition is already feasible and affordable when it comes to transforming the energy sector, other industries require further innovation to decarbonize. For example, sustainably producing synthetic fertilizer and steel relies on the upscaling of green hydrogen production.

A big hurdle for green hydrogen is the use of scarce noble metals in the electrolyzers that make hydrogen and the fuel cells that consume it. Consequently, it is vitally important to reduce the catalyst loading and improve catalyst longevity in these devices. Achieving these goals requires a detailed understanding of how catalysts behave during operation. Such insight can be obtained directly through X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).

In this presentation, I will present operando XAS results on the degradation of iridium oxide and platinum catalysts. Specifically, I will show how we can track the chemical state of these catalysts during operation, and how this chemical behavior affects catalyst degradation. These results will help design more active and stable catalysts that could enable the hydrogen economy.

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