Distinguished Speaker Seminar – Professor Marian Chatenet

Location: CHBE Room 102

Electrocatalysts’ Durability in Alkaline Medium: Is More Noble More Stable?


Power-to hydrogen is a relevant solution to store renewable electricity, and enables a more rational usage of energy, an endeavour towards the limitation of our carbon footprint. Water electrolyzers enable to produce “green” hydrogen, that can then be fed on demand to fuel cells for electricity generation. Present industrial systems of water electrolysis and fuel cells are operating at “low” temperature and generally use carbon-supported electrocatalysts at their electrodes. While systems based on proton-exchange membrane are the state-of-the-art, the durability of their core components is still uncertain in real operation.

Alkaline declinations of these systems do exist, formerly operating with circulation of KOH electrolyte and now based on anion-exchange membranes. In many cases, one advantage put forth for these alkaline systems is the supposed durability of their electrocatalysts and electrodes.

This presentation will show that it is not necessarily true, especially for carbon-supported electrocatalysts containing platinum group metals. Surprisingly, carbon-supported non-noble electrocatalysts seem to be more durable in alkaline environments.

It will be also shown, for the particular example of oxygen evolution reaction in strong bases, that stainless steel electrodes can be both active and durable.


Marian Chatenet obtained an engineer degree in materials sciences and a master in electrochemistry in 1997 from the Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble-INP). He defended his PhD in electrochemistry in 2000 (Grenoble-INP) and then moved to the University of Minnesota until 2002 as a post-doctoral fellow in chemical engineering. He was appointed associate professor in Grenoble-INP in 2002, as a teacher in electrochemistry and a researcher in electrocatalysis, and is now professor in the same institute. His research topics deal with electrocatalysis of complex reactions and activity/durability of electrocatalysts, in particular for fuel cell and electrolysis applications. Until August 2019, he had published 153 journal articles, 8 book chapters, filed 7 patents and gave 200+ communications in (inter)national conferences and 40+ invited seminars. His h-index was 42 at this time.