Highly Efficient Electrolysis of Water

Nitrogen doped graphene quantum dots are more catalytic than platinum for enhancing electrolysis of water.

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In order for hydrogen fuel cells to make more sense in the grand energy scheme of the future a more efficient method for electrolysis must be developed.

Recent scientific studies have indicated that nitrogen doped carbon nanotubes or graphene is a better catalyst for electrolysis than platinum or palladium.

The cost advantage is obvious, as carbon based materials are orders of magnitude cheaper than rare earth metals. The difficulty lies in the synthesis of these doped materials as the nitrogen atoms have conventionally been applied during the growth of CNT not as a post process.

I believe I can fix this problem using simple microwave chemistry.

Accordingh to various studies Nitrogen Doped Graphene is a better catalyst for electrolysis than platinum.

I will be coating some carbon fiber electrodes with nitrogen doped graphene quantum dots and a binder material most likely PVDF or PVP. GO quantum dots are prepared by oxidizing graphite/graphene, and treating with ultrasonication to continue to break the graphene oxide into smaller and smaller pieces.

Using urea and a microwave the oxygen groups can then be replaced with nitrogen and annealing/reduction with l-ascorbic acid to close the five membered rings containing nitrogen.

The two control groups will be using pristine carbon fiber electrodes of equal weight to the CF electrodes coated with n-doped graphene quantum dots and n doped multiwalled carbon nanotubes.

These will be placed in a simple hoffman apparatus and the mWh will be compared to volume of evolved gasses to determine efficiency.

Moving forward I would like to try ultrasonication in conjunction to see if there can be further increases in effeciency. This will probably only work on a much larger scale but I will see.

Picture used CC 3.0 Ivan Akira

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  • 1 × Graphene Oxide Quantum Dots
  • 1 × Ammonia in Water
  • 1 × Microwave Evaluation, Demonstration Kits, Boards and Modules / Sample Kits
  • 1 × Carbon Fiber Cloth
  • 1 × PVDF or PVP for binding the GOQD to the cloth

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  • Urea Electrolysis

    MECHANICUS07/09/2016 at 22:25 0 comments

    Urea electrolysis can occur at .37 volts reducing watts required. A primer video.

  • Nitrogen Plasma Functionalization vs Ammonia functionalization

    MECHANICUS03/21/2016 at 23:50 0 comments

    There are two strategies for decorating these carbons with Nitrogen groups. If you have a graphene oxide to start with microwaving in simple household ammonia will replace the oxygen groups with nitrogen allowing a much higher concentration around 45% of nitrogen to carbon.

    Another far less energy intense strategy is to simply use my nitrogen plasma functionalization route via microwave. Making graphene oxide is a royal pain in the you know what and is not favorable for mass production. The problem being that microwave nitrogen plasma will only yield around 3% to 10% by mass nitrogen functionalities.

    So the test obviously has to include these two different compounds. As well as pristine graphene and carbon fiber by itself.

    I also have plans to simply use pristine carbon fiber in a solution of suspended/dissolved graphene oxide/nitride. If the coating process can be skipped and no electrolyte used just graphene nitride in solution it would be much easier to prepare and scale much more rapidly.

    I am getting all these materials together in preparation for the citizen scientist part of the 2016 HAD prize.

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