Water electrolysis conjugated with renewable energy sources potentially realizes a sustainable society. Although the current electrolyzers operate at extreme pH to maximize the electrolysis efficiency, near-neutral pH conditions may optimize the overall system operation when conjugated with renewable energy sources. In this context, a study on the electrolysis in the mild conditions is essential. The dissertation investigates the water electrolysis in various conditions, with a particular focus placed on milder conditions, to rationalize and improve its performance. Microkinetic analysis was performed for the cathodic half-reaction in conjugation with mass transport evaluation using various electrode materials. The analysis revealed a significant universal influence of electrolyte properties on the reaction performances at near-neutral pH. Investigation of the associated electrolyte properties (ion size, viscosity and activity/fugacity) rationally optimized the reaction conditions. Together with the separately performed studies on the anodic half-reaction and system configurations, the finding was successfully transferred to electrocatalytic and solar-driven water splitting systems. The presented herein is a fundamental yet crucial aspect of water electrolysis, which can advance the water electrolysis for the future.
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|KAUST Research Repository