HYPE-EWOC: Hybrid Polyoxometalates Electrodes for Efficient Water Oxidation Catalysis
Matching the increasing energy demand in a clean, sustainable and yet cost-effective way is one of the biggest challenges in the 21st century. Our society has a huge dependency on fossil fuels, accounting for more than 80% of all energy supplies. This causes anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere where it has reached an unprecedented concentration of 405 ppm. Moreover, the use of fossil fuel has negative effects, not only on human health, but also contributing to climate change and oceans acidification. Therefore, the invention, development, and deployment of carbon-free energy sources and technology is of imperative importance.
An attractive solution to circumvent this problem is the so-called hydrogen economy. However, the implementation of economically affordable water electrolyser devices into the market is hampered by the lack of an efficient and inexpensive OER catalyst working in acidic conditions. The main goal of the “HYPE-EWOC” project is to design and construct a large-surface area hybrid electrode based on non-precious metals, i.e. polyoxometalates, active toward OER catalysis in acidic media. Following a bottom-up approach I will use state-of-the-art DFT methodology to tailor novel polyoxometalates supported on the electrode surface. Then, I will synthesise the best candidates and test their electrocatalytic activity at low pH.
With the success of this project, these novel hybrid electrodes will be implemented into commercial water electrolyser devices, offering a clean and renewable energy source able to compete with the fossil fuel industry for energy production.