Magnetically modified electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution reaction in proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers

Mehmet Kaya, Nesrin Demir, Neil Rees, Ahmad El-Kharouf

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Green hydrogen production can only be realized via water electrolysis using renewable energy sources. Proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers have been demonstrated as the technology of choice for mass production of green hydrogen due to their scalability and potential high efficiency. However, the technology is still relatively expensive due to the catalyst materials cost and operational limitations due to mass transfer and activation polarizations. During the oxygen evolution reaction, oxygen bubbles stick to the electrode surface and this causes a low reaction rate and high mass transfer losses. In this study, the commonly used electrocatalyst for oxygen evolution reactions; IrO2, is modified by introducing magnetic Fe3O4 to achieve greater bubble separation at the anode during operation. The prepared composite catalysts were characterized using Scanning Electron Microscope, Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis, X-Ray Powder Diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller characterization methods. The modified composite electrocatalyst samples are magnetized to investigate the magnetic field effect on oxygen evolution reaction performance in proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers. 90% IrO2 - 10% Fe3O4 and 80% IrO2 - 20% Fe3O4 samples are tested via linear sweep voltammetry both ex-situ and in-situ in a proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer single cell. According to the linear sweep voltammetry tests, the magnetization of the 80% IrO2 - 20% Fe3O4 sample resulted in 15% increase in the maximum current density. Moreover, the single cell electrolyzer test showed a four-fold increase in current density by employing the magnetized 80% IrO2 - 20% Fe3O4 catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20825-20834
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number40
Early online date23 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Scientific Research Projects Unit of Erciyes University for funding and supporting the project under the contract number FKB-2019-9134 . M.F.K. thanks The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) “2211-C Priority Areas PhD Scholarship Program with the grant number 1649B031501867” and “2214-A International Research Fellowship Program for PhD Students with the grant number 1059B1416009042 ” for their scholarships. M.F.K. also thanks University of Birmingham Fuel Cell Research Group for their collaboration during his PhD visiting research and Dr. Malik Degri in Magnetic Materials Research Group for their help in magnetizer device.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC


  • PEM water electrolyser
  • Kelvin force
  • electrocatalyst
  • Lorentz force
  • Magnetic field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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