Fabrication of Designer Catalytic Electrode at Multiple Length Scales Using Additive Manufacturing


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Capability Expert

T. Yong-Jin Han, Marcus Worsley, Sarah Baker, Christopher Spadaccini


Computational Tools and Modeling
Process and Manufacturing Scale-Up

Node Readiness Category

2: High-Temperature Electrolysis (HTE)
2: Low-Temperature Electrolysis (LTE)
2: Photoelectrochemical (PEC)
2: Solar Thermochemical (STCH)


This capability provides expertise, methods, and custom additive manufacturing equipment for fabricating electrodes, catalysts and supports for H2 production. Combining the expertise of synthesis, optimization, scale-up, formulation and manufacturing, this capability will provide researchers avenues to custom design material compositions and structures to manipulate their properties, functionalities and performance. For H2 production, the ability to customize and optimize the photovoltaic materials, electrodes, catalysts and catalyst supports will be critical to path to success. LLNL has expertise in synthesis, optimization and formulation of carbon based aerogels, graphene, carbon nanotubes, MoS2 (and other transition metal chalcogenides), metals, metal oxides, polymers, biopolymers, ceramics, nanoparticles and composite materials for use in state-of-the-art prototype additive manufacturing processes. These additive manufacturing processes, which include direct-ink writing, projection micro-stereolithography, electrophoretic deposition and microfluidic flow focusing are capable of manufacturing materials with micro- and nanoscale features in large scales (e.g. cubic inches and above). Collectively, this capability has successfully applied to create high surface area materials based on metals, metal oxides, carbon nanotubes, and graphene that exhibit greater electrical conductivity, and more robust mechanical properties,[5, 8, 11, 15] as well as MoS2/graphene aerogel composites with enhanced catalytic and electrochemical properties.[1, 12] Additionally, 3D-printed materials developed at LLNL also exhibited significantly enhanced electrochemical performance and designer properties such as density, strength, permeability, porosity, and thermal expansion. The ability of tune materials compositions and properties using custom materials and processes to control micro- and macrostructures will drastically open up the design space for material scientists and engineers to explore to tackle the H2 production challenge.

Capability Bounds‎

Although additive manufacturing processes are very flexible in accommodating different material sets, investigation of materials' compatibility and feasibility with additive manufacturing processes must be explored prior to implementation. Depending on the desired features and properties, formulation of custom materials can take time for development.

Unique Aspects‎

The combined expertise of precision engineering and materials science have made LLNL a leader among Department of Energy laboratories in custom materials development and in additive manufacturing. LLNL has extensive experience in tailored synthesis of nanomaterials, custom feedstocks, and source materials that enable additive manufacturing of unique and custom materials with optimized features on the nano- and microscales. This capability can be applied to electrodes, catalysts, supports, microelectromechanical systems, photonics and photovoltaic cell fabrication.


The Center for Engineered Materials, Manufacturing and Optimization at LLNL has assembled an array of custom and commercial additive manufacturing tools and a variety of novel and customizable feedstocks which can be formulated to achieve desired structures and function. Researchers can be trained in these equipment and work along side experts to develop H2 production related materials.


This capability can provide avenues to create custom materials in 3D architecture with controlled porosity, density, strength and permeability. This capability will also open up the design space for material scientists and engineers to explore compositions, structures and functionalities that are otherwise difficult to create.


Examples of custom feedstock materials, manufactured materials and additive manufacturing processes, including electrophoretic deposition, direct-ink writing and projection microstereolithography capable of fabricating arbitrary, microscale, three dimensional structures.


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