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About this book

This book covers the recent development of metal oxides, hydroxides and their carbon composites for electrochemical oxidation of water in the production of hydrogen and oxygen as fuels. It includes a detailed discussion on synthesis methodologies for the metal oxides/hydroxides, structural/morphological characterizations, and the key parameters (Tafel plot, Turnover frequency, Faradic efficiency, overpotential, long cycle life etc.) needed to evaluate the electrocatalytic activity of the materials. Additionally, the mechanism behind the electro oxidation process is presented. Readers will find a comprehensive source on the close correlation between metal oxides, hydroxides, composites, and their properties and importance in the generation of hydrogen and oxygen from water.

The depletion of fossil fuels from the earth’s crust, and related environmental issues such as climate change, demand that we search for alternative energy resources to achieve some form of sustainable future. In this regard, much scientific research has been devoted to technologies such as solar cells, wind turbines, fuel cells etc. Among them fuel cells attract much attention because of their versatility and efficiency. In fuel cells, different fuels such as hydrogen, CO2, alcohols, acids, methane, oxygen/air, etc. are used as the fuel, and catalysts are employed to produce a chemical reaction for generating electricity. Hence, it is very important to produce these fuels in an efficient, eco-friendly, and cost effective manner. The electrochemical splitting of water is an environmentally friendly process to produce hydrogen (the greener fuel used in fuel cells), but the efficiencies of these hydrogen evolution reactions (cathodic half reaction) are strongly dependent on the anodic half reaction (oxygen evolution reaction), i.e., the better the anodic half, the better will be the cathodic reaction. Further, this oxygen evolution reaction depends on the types of active electrocatalysts used. Though many more synthetic approaches have been explored and different electrocatalysts developed, oxide and hydroxide-based nanomaterials and composites (with graphene, carbon nanotubes etc.) show better performance. This may be due to the availability of more catalytic surface area and electro active centers to carry out the catalysis process.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter presents a brief discussion of different types of energy resources and emergence of electrolysis. Both the advantages and disadvantages of traditional fossil fuel are presented along with the benefits of water electrolyzer. Further the types of electrolysis and requirements to improve their performance has been discussed. We presume that the authors will get fundamental idea on energy issues and requirement of alternative energy resources for future sustainability.
Aneeya Kumar Samantara, Satyajit Ratha

Chapter 2. Types of Electrolysis and Electrochemical Cell

Abstract
Electrolysis is the process of breakdown of stable water molecule on passage of current across the electrodes in aqueous electrolyte. Generally at a particular potential, the splitting of water to molecular hydrogen and oxygen takes place at cathode and anode terminals of the electrochemical cell. This chapter presents a brief discussion on the types of electrolysis and electrochemical cell. Further, for better understanding, complete configuration of electrodes in a three electrode electrochemical cell is presented.
Aneeya Kumar Samantara, Satyajit Ratha

Chapter 3. Mechanism and Key Parameters for Catalyst Evaluation

Abstract
Both the hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution reaction follows a multi electron catalytic path and the mechanism strongly depends on the types of electrolyte used for the electrolysis. Also there are various key parameters available to evaluate the performances of a particular electrocatalyst. In this chapter, detailed discussion on the mechanism of both the HER and OER in acidic and alkaline electrolyte is presented. Moreover, emphasis has been given on the calculation of different key parameters like overpotential, Tafel slope, electrochemical active surface area, Faradic efficiency, Turnover frequency, long cycle life etc. used for efficiency evaluation of a catalyst.
Aneeya Kumar Samantara, Satyajit Ratha

Chapter 4. Electroactive Materials

Abstract
Both the HER and OER are the core reactions of advanced energy conversion technologies (Fuel cell, metal-air batteries, conversion of CO2 to fuel etc.) which are the key components of the sustainable energy utilization infrastructures. But experimentally these reactions face higher activation energy barrier and require additional potential called overpotential for their completion. In order to reduce the overpotential, numerous electrocatalyst and advanced techniques for electrode fabrication were developed. This chapter covers an up to date literature survey on different types of electroactive materials (precious metals, metal oxides, chalcogenides, phosphides, supported materials etc.) and electrodes employed for electrolysis purpose.
Aneeya Kumar Samantara, Satyajit Ratha

Chapter 5. Potential Applications of Electrolysis for Commercial Hydrogen Production

Abstract
The fossil fuel based energy resources are considered as the primary source of energy for day today requirement. But the limited reserve and carbon emission during the combustion process restricts their use demanding an alternative resource. After numerous research efforts, the researchers have successfully stored solar energy in form of chemical energy, especially in molecular hydrogen (H2). Like oil and natural gases, hydrogen is not energy but stores and carries energy. On the other hand, for ease of use, the online production of H2 remain indispensable. This chapter presents the development in the use of electrolysis for commercial hydrogen production, onsite electrolysis and use of H2 as a clean fuel in vehicles.
Aneeya Kumar Samantara, Satyajit Ratha

Chapter 6. Summary and Conclusion

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the ongoing development in electroactive material design and electrode fabrication techniques. Also the scope to work to further improve the efficiency of the electrolyzer is presented.
Aneeya Kumar Samantara, Satyajit Ratha

Backmatter

Additional information