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Development of a co-participative system for sustainable hydrogen production and wastewater treatment using PEM electrolyser

Grant number: 13/24842-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): February 08, 2015
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Adalgisa Rodrigues de Andrade
Grantee:Thiago dos Santos Almeida
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


The increasing world population will result in two major challenges; addressing the energy demand of 2.6 billion people in the world and decontaminate wastewater caused by intense urbanization and industrial activity. In this context, electrolytic processes appear as a promising alternative. The use of PEM electrolyzer (Proton Exchange Membrane) shows great versatility allowing the wastewater treatment in co-participation with the production of high purity hydrogen. Hydrogen is an energy vector with a high economic and environmental interest used as an alternative to fossil fuels. Moreover, this system when coupled to sources of wind or solar energy result in inexpensive operational energy, meaning an environmentally sustainable process. However, just few studies have been done about these devices, which present many unexplored challenges mainly in obtaining low cost, efficient and stable electrodic materials for oxygen (OER) and hydrogen (HER) evolution reactions to become economically viable the application of this type of device. Thus, the focus of this project is to obtain low cost and effective electrodic materials for OER and HER for direct application in PEM electrolyser, and use this system in wastewater treatment, performing two processes environmentally desirable with the same energy demand. In this way, the electrolytic cell will generate simultaneously hydrogen at the cathode and oxidize wastewater at the anode.

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