Nanostructured Thin Films (NSTF), used as substrates for catalysts, have proven to be highly active for oxygen reduction in fuel cells. This improvement in activity is expected to transfer to electrolyzer technology as the NSTF substrate layer, with a ruthenium oxide based catalyst, is used for oxygen evolution. Slow anode kinetics in electrolysis provide the bulk of the cell overpotential. An increase in anode catalyst activity and decrease in mass-transfer effects, as seen with the thin NSTF catalyst layers and ruthenium oxide based catalysts, would mean an increase in overall efficiency for the electrolyzer systems. In fuel cells, the catalyst layer thickness has been reduced by a factor of 20 compared to the state of the art, and specific activity has increased by an order of magnitude. An additional benefit is that the substrate manufacture, catalyst coating and MEA production are done via a roll-good process, ensuring consistency of product for high reliability.