Electrochemical and chemical cycle for high-efficiency decoupled water splitting in a near-neutral electrolyte

Ilya Slobodkin, Elena Davydova, Matan Sananis, Anna Breytus, Avner Rothschild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Green hydrogen produced by water splitting using renewable electricity is essential to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Present water electrolysis technologies are uncompetitive with low-cost grey hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, limiting their scale-up potential. Disruptive processes that decouple the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions and produce them in separate cells or different stages emerge as a prospective route to reduce system cost by enabling operation without expensive membranes and sealing components. Some of these processes divide the hydrogen or oxygen evolution reactions into electrochemical and chemical sub-reactions, enabling them to achieve high efficiency. However, high efficiency has been demonstrated only in a batch process with thermal swings that present operational challenges. This work introduces a breakthrough process that produces hydrogen and oxygen in separate cells and supports continuous operation in a membraneless system. We demonstrate high faradaic and electrolytic efficiency and high rate operation in a near-neutral electrolyte of NaBr in water, whereby bromide is electro-oxidized to bromate concurrent with hydrogen evolution in one cell, and bromate is chemically reduced to bromide in a catalytic reaction that evolves oxygen in another cell. This process may lead the way to high-efficiency membraneless water electrolysis that overcomes the limitations of century-old membrane electrolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalNature Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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