One of the main issues of hydrogen economy is the electrolytic production of H2 from aqueous solutions and its utilization in fuel cells to generate energy. In this scheme, hydrogen acts as an energy carrier. This scenario is gaining increasing attention together with other energy-generating technologies, such as solar and nuclear technologies. Electrolysis is in principle a clean technology, but it requires a great consumption of electrical energy. The present work concerns selection, production, and optimization of electrocatalytic materials to improve the efficiency of hydrogen electrolytic production by reducing operational costs.
From a catalytical point of view, H2 evolution is a facile reaction. It is possible to further reduce energy losses by maximizing the surface area of electrodes or by activating cathodes. In the meantime, scrutiny of efficient electrode materials for O2 anodic evolution is needed. In fact, the reaction of O2 evolution is more energy demanding and affects the global energy balance severely. Therefore, development and optimization of the technology of electrolytic hydrogen production implies the evaluation of both cathodic and anodic reactions.