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Hydrogen evolution reaction


The hydrogen oxidation/evolution reaction

  1. A. Lasia

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f204033

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Lasia, A. 2010. Hydrogen evolution reaction. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Université de Sherbrooke, Département de chimie, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This chapter presents a review of electrode materials used for the hydrogen evolution reactions and a comparison of their electrocatalytic activities. The introduction presents a brief definition of various thermodynamic water electrolysis potentials. In general, there are two ways to improve the performance of electrode materials: (1) use of electrode materials characterized by higher intrinsic activity i.e., higher exchange current density and (2) use of electrodes characterized by large real surface area. Both methods are used in practice. In this chapter various electrode materials are reviewed: smooth metals, alloys, intermetallic compounds and composites, Raney type materials (Raney Ni, Zn, etc.), oxides, carbides, sulfides, borides, phosphides, amorphous and nano-crystalline materials etc., Among the most active materials are noble metals, doped Raney-type alloys, IrO2/Ru2O, sulfides, borides, and Ni/Mo based alloys. Unfortunately, noble metals are very expensive and easily poisoned and their activity decreases with time. Although many materials may still be improved and optimized there is a need to study the detailed mechanism and kinetics of the HER on these materials and the relation between the geometric (surface roughness) and intrinsic electrocatalytic properties.


  • hydrogen evolution reaction;
  • reaction mechanisms;
  • Volmer–Heyrovsky mechanism;
  • Volmer–Tafel mechanism;
  • overpotential;
  • Tafel slope;
  • volcano plot;
  • electrode activity;
  • apparent;
  • intrinsic;
  • electrode materials;
  • metals;
  • alloys;
  • composites;
  • intermetallic compound;
  • oxides;
  • phosphides;
  • sulfides;
  • borides;
  • Raney alloys;
  • amorphous;
  • nano-crystalline;
  • solid polymers;
  • thermoneutral cell voltage;
  • water electrolysis–standard cell voltage