News Release

Superaerophobic polyethyleneimine hydrogels for improving electrochemical hydrogen production by promoting bubble detachment

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST)

Professor Jungki Ryu and his research team

image: Professor Jungki Ryu and his research team in the Department of Energy Engineering at UNIST. view more 

Credit: UNIST

A research team, affiliated with UNIST recently reported that the performance of electrodes for alkaline hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) can be significantly improve even without expensive electrocatalysts and complicated processes by modifying them with superaerophobic polymeric hydrogels. This breakthrough has been led by Professor Jungki Ryu and his research team in the Department of Energy Engineering at UNIST.

In this study, the research team reported a simple strategy to enhance the efficiency of electrochemical hydrogen production by imparting superaerophobicity to an underlying electrode with porous polymeric hydrogels. Superaerophobic hydrogels were readily coated on target substrates by cross-linking polyethyleneimine (PEI) via Schiff-base condensation reactions followed by freeze-drying, noted the research team. As a result, they could readily control the pore size, porosity, and superaerophobicity of the hydrogel-coated electrodes by varying the concentrations of PEI upon cross-linking. Due to facile removal of as-generated hydrogen bubbles, the NF electrode modified with PEI hydrogel only outperformed those modified with expensive electrocatalysts especially at high current densities, according to the research team.

“We believe that our results can pave the way for the practical application of water electrolysis by providing insights into the design of electrodes and electrolyzers,” noted the research team.

This study has been participated by Misol Bae in the Department of Energy Engineering at UNIST. Published in the August 2022 issue of Advanced Energy Materials, their findings have also been featured as a front cover.

Journal Reference
Misol Bae,Yunseok Kang,Dong Woog Lee, et al., “Superaerophobic Polyethyleneimine Hydrogels for Improving Electrochemical Hydrogen Production by Promoting Bubble Detachment,” Adv. Energy Mater., (2022).

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