Nat Commun. 2022 Dec 27;13(1):7956. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-35603-9.
The application of membrane electrode assemblies is considered a promising approach for increasing the energy efficiency of conventional alkaline water electrolysis. However, previous investigations have mostly focused on improving membrane conductivity and electrocatalyst activity. This study reports an all-in-one membrane electrode assembly obtained by de novo design. The introduction of a porous membrane readily enables the oriented intergrowth of ordered catalyst layers using solvothermal methods, leading to the formation of an all-in-one MEA for alkaline water electrolysis. This all-in-one MEA features ordered catalyst layers with large surface areas, a low-tortuosity pore structure, integrated catalyst layer/membrane interfaces, and a well-ordered OH- transfer channel. Owing to this design, a high current density of 1000 mA cm-2 is obtained at 1.57 V in 30 wt% KOH, resulting in a 94% energy efficiency. This work highlights the prospects of all-in-one membrane electrode assemblies in designing next-generation high-performance alkaline water electrolysis.