Catalysis Club of Chicago

Member-North American Catalysis Society

February 6, 2023 – VIRTUAL MEETING

Restructuring of Intermetallic (Pre)catalysts under Water and Paired Electrolysis

Prashanth W. Menezes

Head of Materials Chemistry – Thin Film Catalysis Group at CatLab

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

Technische Universität Berlin

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Water electrolysis into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) is one of the promising ways to overcome the current energy crisis and has attracted much attention due to its numerous advantages.1 Recently, numerous progress has been achieved in developing inexpensive and robust catalysts based on transition metals (oxides, chalcogenides, or alloys) for water splitting with reasonable activity.2 Our current goals are to look for new classes of suitable unconventional catalysts based on non-noble metals that can offer better overall catalytic efficiency; to study their structural transformation, active sites, surface, and bulk structures; and to investigate the influence of precatalysts on the properties of the final catalyst.

          Intermetallic compounds have numerous advantages owing to their intriguing structural, chemical and physical properties, especially being catalytically active and electrically conductive at the same time and thus, making them an ideal class of materials for electrocatalytic applications.2 Using different approaches, we have synthesized various classes of intermetallic compounds with interesting structural and electronic features.3 Most of these materials exhibited remarkable electrocatalytic activity for water splitting, yielding considerably low overpotentials with enhanced long-term durability for both O2 and H2 generation in alkaline media. The active catalyst structure during each half-reaction (H2 and O2) and the correlation of the structure with the activity of the catalysts were revealed by a profound understanding of the system using in-situ and ex-situ techniques.4 This talk will provide a brief summary of the ongoing water-splitting research as well as delve into selected examples of our recent work to pave the way to a concept-guided design system beyond water splitting such as paired electrolysis to replace low-value O2 to value added products.5

Keywords: intermetallic compounds, precatalysts, water electrolysis, paired electrocatalysis


  1. Z. Chen, H. Yang, Z. Kang, M. Driess, P. W. Menezes, Adv. Mater. 2022, 2108432.
  2. J. N. Hausmann, S. Mebs, H. Dau, M. Driess,P. W. Menezes, Adv. Mater. 2022, 202207494
  3. N. Hausmann, R. Beltrán-Suito, S. Mebs, V. Hlukhyy, T. F. Fässler, H. Dau, M. Driess, P. W. Menezes, Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2008823
  4. I. Mondal, J. N. Hausmann, G. Vijaykumar, S. Mebs, H. Dau, Z Kang, M Driess, P. W. Menezes, Adv. Energy Mater. 2022, 2200269
  5. J. N. Hausmann, P. V. Menezes, G. Vijaykumar, K. Laun, T. Diemant, I. Zebger, T. Jacob, M. Driess,P. W. Menezes, Adv. Energy Mater. 2022, 2202098.


Prashanth W. Menezes is a head of materials chemistry for thin film catalysis group at CatLab of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie and inorganic materials group at Technische Universität Berlin. He received his Ph.D. from Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, following which he moved to Technische Universität München and then to Technische Universität Berlin to work on energy catalysis. His research focuses on the design, development, and structural understanding of novel unconventional catalysts in heterogeneous catalysis, especially in the area of redox oxygen catalysis, (photo)electrocatalytic water splitting as well as electrochemical redox reactions.