Improving the performance of proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers with low Ir-loaded anodes by adding PEDOT:PSS as electrically conductive binder†
Reducing the iridium catalyst loading in the anode of polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzers is a major goal to bring down the cost. However, anodes with low Ir-loading can suffer from poor electrical connectivity and hence lower the efficiency of the electrolyzer. In this work, we replace parts of the Nafion binder in the anode with an electrically conductive polymer (poly-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene and polystyrene sulfonate acid complex, PEDOT:PSS) to counter this effect. At the optimal 50 : 50 blend we achieve a 120 mV lower overpotential (2.02 V) at 3 A cm−2 compared to a pure Nafion reference (2.14 V). This corresponds to a 6% better efficiency. Ex situ resistivity measurements and high frequency resistance measurements indicate that the major cause for this improvement lies in the reduced electrical in-plane resistance due to the electrical conductivity of PEDOT:PSS.