Electrochemical Technologies Research Group

Summary of the research group’s field of study

The work of the research group can be divided in four topics:

Development of electrolyzer cells and catalyst layers for electrochemical water splitting. We design and develop zero-gap electrolyzer cells and catalyst coated membranes for these. We focus on the up-scaling of the electrolyzer cells, and on the reproducible and scalable synthesis of catalyst coated membranes. 

Development of electrolyzer cells for electrochemical CO2 reduction. 
We develop zero-gap CO2 electrolyzer cells and stacks. We investigate the effect of the electrolyzer structure on the rate and selectivity of electrochemical CO2 reduction. We investigate the effect of the gas flow pattern, the mode of the gas and liquid feeds and the geometric size of the electrolyzer. 

Development of operating environments for electrolysis technologies. 
Up-scaling the electrolyzer cells also implies the need for larger operational environments, that must also include improved safety features and high-level of automatization. Currently we are developing fully automatized systems for operating electrolyzer cells/stacks with 10-100 kW power uptake. 

Integration of electrolyzer technologies with renewable energy sources (i.e. solar farms).
The long-term goal of our work is to operate water and CO2 electrolyzer cells with renewable energy, produced with solar farms. We study the possible integration modes and investigate the effect of the dynamically varying load on the long-term performance of CO2 and water electrolyzer cells. 

The most important scientific results of the research group

We have designed and produced zero-gap electrolyzer cells for CO2 electrolysis. The 8 cm2 large cell, used during scientific experiments in our laboratories, was scaled-up to 100 cm2 active electrolyzer area in two steps. The cells were validated by performing standard experiments in them. These showed no substantial difference between the operation of the different size electrolyzer cells. Our electrolyzer cell was the first capable of being operated as a multi-layer electrolyzer stack, hence the surface area used for electrolysis can be increased without increased the lateral size of the device. Furthermore, the unique design of the cell allows different gas management among the cell – the cells can be connected parallelly or in series. While the first option allows high conversion rates, the second ensures high single-pass conversion ratios. 

We tested the cell operation using various commercially available components. Importantly, different size catalyst particles, different membranes and gas diffusion layers were tested to optimize the cell operation. Comparing the cell performance with different membranes we identified this as one of the most important components and chose the best available option. We identified the compression ratio of the gas diffusion layer as another very important parameter. The electrical resistance of the electrolyzer cell increases if the gas diffusion layer is not compressed at all, while too much compression partly blocks the pores in the gas diffusion layer, hence preventing the reactant CO2 to reach the catalyst surface.

Results of the last 1 year

The most important aim of the research group is to bridge the knowledge gap between the scientific research projects and the industrial application of various electrochemical processes, most importantly the electroreduction of CO2. We design and create electrolyzer cells, stacks and test stations in gradually increasing size.

We designed and produced zero-gap CO2 electrolyzer cells with 8-100 cm2 active surface area. We reported for the first time an electrolyzer cell design can be operated as multi-layer electrolyzer stack, hence increasing the conversion rate and/or conversion ratio of CO2.1

The custom-designed electrolyzer cell allows to tune the compression ratio of the cathode gas-diffusion electrode, hence the cell can be used with electrodes of any thickness. Optimizing the compression ratio of the gas diffusion electrode, and using a novel anion exchange membrane we achieved unprecedentedly high CO2 conversion rates.2
(1)      ACS Energy Lett. 2019, 4 (7), 1770–1777.
(2)      Energy Environ. Sci. 2020, 13 (11), 4098–4105. 

The 5 most important publications of the research group

  • B. Endrődi; E. Kecsenovity; A. Samu; T. Halmágyi; S. Rojas-Carbonell; L. Wang; Y. Yan; C. Janáky, High Carbonate Ion Conductance of a Robust PiperION Membrane Allows Industrial Current Density and Conversion in a Zero-Gap Carbon Dioxide Electrolyzer Cell. Energy Environ. Sci. 2020, 13 (11), 4098–4105. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0EE02589E
  • B. Endrődi; E. Kecsenovity; A. Samu; F. Darvas; R. V. Jones; V. Török; A. Danyi; C. Janáky, Multilayer Electrolyzer Stack Converts Carbon Dioxide to Gas Products at High Pressure with High Efficiency. ACS Energy Lett. 2019, 4 (7), 1770–1777. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsenergylett.9b01142
  • B. Endrődi; G. Bencsik; F. Darvas; R. V. Jones; K. Rajeshwar; C. Janáky, Continuous-Flow Electroreduction of Carbon Dioxide. Prog. Energy Combust. Sci. 2017, 62, 133–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pecs.2017.05.005
  • A. Danyi, F. Darvas, B. Endrődi, C. Janáky, R. Jones, E. Kecsenovity, A. Samu, V. Török, Modular electrolyzer stack and process to convert carbon dioxide to gaseous products at elevated pressure and with high conversion rate, WO2020240218A1
  • B. Endrődi, C. Janáky, F. Darvas, R. Jones, E. Kecsenovity, A. Samu, Process and system to enhance and sustain electrolyzer performance of carbon-dioxide electrolysers, WO2022013583A1

Head of the research group: Dr. Csaba Janáky

Csaba Janáky, habilitated associate professor, finished his PhD at the University of Szeged, then worked at The University of Texas at Arlington as a Marie Curie scholarship holder for 2 years. In 2013, when he returned home, he started building a team and founded the MTA-SZTE Lendület Photoelectrochemistry Research Group with support from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His professional experience involves electrochemical catalyst development, (photo)electrochemistry and CO2 conversion. He is the co-author of 100+ articles published in international journals, and in case of 65 publications he is the first or corresponding author (ΣIF>800). In the last 5 years, the followings mark his innovativity in applied research fields: 4 patent applications, winning the so called “Innovation Oscar” R&D 100 Award in 2019, the Hungarian Environmental Protection Innovation prize, and the Dénes Gábor award.

Members of the Research Group:
Dr. Ádám Balog 
Dr. Gábor Bencsik 
Ádám Dér 
Péter Gyenes
Andrea Lénártné Serfőző 

The most important tools

  • Biologic VMP-300 multichannel potentiostat/galvanostat
  • Shimadzu GC-2030 gas chromatograph equipped with high temperature automatized sampler
  • SRS UGA200 atmospheric sampling mass spectrometer
  • SRS BGA-244 binary gas analyzer
  • Hubei Cubic-Ruiyi Gasboard-3100 gas analyzer for CO, CO2 and H2 content analysis in gas mixtures
  • Bronkhorst mass flow controllers and meters (multiple, different mass flow ranges)
  • TDK lambda high current power supplies (multiple, different current and voltage ranges)
  • Custom designed semi-automatized test station for testing medium sized (~100 cm2) water splitting and CO2 electrolysis cells and stacks.

The most important figures connected to the research fields

Industrial partners

Contact the research group leader on the following e-mail address: