Development and Evaluation of Catalysts for Harsh Environments


Idaho National Laboratory (INL)

Capability Expert

Daniel Ginosar


Material Synthesis

Node Readiness Category

1: Hybrid Thermochemical (HT)


Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has unique capabilities to develop and evaluate heterogeneous catalysts for harsh environments, especially highly corrosive, high-temperature environments that exist in the sulfur-based thermochemical water splitting cycles. Developed as part of the Nuclear Hydrogen Program, INL capabilities include multiple corrosion resistant, high-temperature, fully automated systems with on-line product analysis. These systems were used to characterize catalytic activity and stability for the high-temperature sulfuric acid and hydroiodic acid decomposition reactions at industrially relevant conditions of temperatures, pressures and space velocities. INL capabilities were strengthened by collaborations with commercial catalyst manufacturer Johnson Matthey, National Laboratories (Sandia National Laboratory, Savannah River National Laboratory, and Pacific National Laboratory) and scale-up partner General Atomics (GA). INL's role in the Nuclear Hydrogen Program was to develop sulfur resistant catalysts and evaluate long term (1,000 hour) activity and stability. Characteristics were identified for low cost HI splitting catalysts to be used in scale-up studies. To date, no highly active catalysts have been proven to withstand the harsh sulfuric acid decomposition reaction at industrial reaction conditions for greater than 1,000 hours of operation, however, capabilities to develop active and stable bimetallic catalysts now reside at INL.

Capability Bounds‎

Systems are available to test up to 50 grams of catalyst at up to 30 bar, 1300 K and weight hourly space velocities to 50 grams acid/gram catalyst/hour.

Unique Aspects‎

Capabilities were developed under the Nuclear Hydrogen Program and supported scale-up prototype testing effort for both the Sulfur-Iodine and Hybrid Sulfur thermochemical cycles. INL has been focused on catalyst activity and stability in extreme environments for the past two decades.


Two systems are currently available for use.


Capabilities for catalyst synthesis and characterization can lead to the advancement of thermochemical water splitting cycles.



D.M. Ginosar, L.M. Petkovic, K.C. Burch, "Commercial activated carbon for the catalytic production of hydrogen via the sulfur-iodine thermochemical water splitting cycle," International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 36, 8908-8914, 2011.

L.M. Petkovic, D.M. Ginosar, H.W. Rollins, K.C. Burch, P.J. Pinhero, H.H. Farrell, "Pt/TiO2 (Rutile) Catalysts for Sulfuric Acid Decomposition in Sulfur-Based Thermochemical Water-Splitting Cycles," Applied Catalysis A: General, 338 (2008) 27–36.

D.M. Ginosar, L.M. Petkovic, A.W. Glenn, K.C. Burch, "Stability of supported platinum sulfuric acid decomposition catalysts for use in thermochemical water splitting cycles," International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 32, 482-488, 2007.