Roll-to-Roll Production of Catalyst Coated Membranes for Low-Temperature Electrolyzers

Janghoon Park, Zhenye Kang, Guido Bender, Michael Ulsh, Scott Mauger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus Citations


This work demonstrates a roll-to-roll (R2R) process for direct coating of anode catalyst layers on a polymer electrolyte membrane for low-temperature water electrolysis. To develop this process, catalyst ink formulation, ink-membrane interactions, and coating quality were studied. The catalyst inks were a mixture of iridium oxide (IrO2) and Nafion in a water and alcohol dispersion medium. The type of alcohol (methanol, ethanol, propanols) and water-to-alcohol ratio were varied to determine their influence on membrane swelling, dispersion quality, and coatability. Small-scale coating samples were prepared to understand coating uniformity and formation of irregularities. Subsequently, two water/1-propanol ratios (90:10 and 75:25) were down-selected for R2R slot-die coating. The R2R catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) coating process increased catalyst layer production throughput by over 500x compared to our standard lab-scale spray coating. The CCMs obtained from this process were tested as single-cell membrane electrode assemblies. They exhibited a cell voltage of 1.91 V at a current density of 2 A/cm2, which is comparable to spray-coated CCMs. In conclusion, the work presented here demonstrates a continuous, scalable manufacturing process that eliminates the need for the decal-transfer step typically used in CCM production.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 228819
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-76985


  • Catalyst coated membranes
  • Catalyst inks
  • Iridium oxide
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzers
  • Roll-to-roll
  • Slot-die coating


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