Thin Film Composite Membranes as a New Category of Alkaline Water Electrolysis Membranes

Juyeon Choi, Hansoo Kim, Sungkwon Jeon, Min Gyu Shin, Jin Young Seo, You In Park, Hosik Park, Albert S. Lee, Changsoo Lee, Min Joong Kim, Hyun Seok Cho, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) is considered a promising technology for green hydrogen (H2) production. Conventional diaphragm-type porous membranes have a high risk of explosion owing to their high gas crossover, while nonporous anion exchange membranes lack mechanical and thermochemical stability, limiting their practical application. Herein, a thin film composite (TFC) membrane is proposed as a new category of AWE membranes. The TFC membrane consists of an ultrathin quaternary ammonium (QA) selective layer formed via Menshutkin reaction-based interfacial polymerization on a porous polyethylene (PE) support. The dense, alkaline-stable, and highly anion-conductive QA layer prevents gas crossover while promoting anion transport. The PE support reinforces the mechanical and thermochemical properties, while its highly porous and thin structure reduces mass transport resistance across the TFC membrane. Consequently, the TFC membrane exhibits unprecedentedly high AWE performance (1.16 A cm−2 at 1.8 V) using nonprecious group metal electrodes with a potassium hydroxide (25 wt%) aqueous solution at 80 °C, significantly outperforming commercial and other lab-made AWE membranes. Moreover, the TFC membrane demonstrates remarkably low gas crossover, long-term stability, and stack cell operability, thereby ensuring its commercial viability for green H2 production. This strategy provides an advanced material platform for energy and environmental applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300825
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept 13

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.C., H.K., and S.J. contributed equally to this work. This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (2022R1A5A1032539 and 2023R1A2C2002913) and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) Open R&D (R22X004).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • Menshutkin reaction
  • alkaline water electrolysis
  • green hydrogen production
  • interfacial polymerization
  • polymer membranes
  • stack cell operation
  • thin film composite membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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