3 years ago

Space-Confined Earth-Abundant Bifunctional Electrocatalyst for High-Efficiency Water Splitting

Space-Confined Earth-Abundant Bifunctional Electrocatalyst for High-Efficiency Water Splitting
Yong Yan, Jing He, Xin Zhang, Gina Fernandes, Xiaoyu Fang, Xu Xiang, Yanqun Tang, Dongpeng Yan
Hydrogen generation from water splitting could be an alternative way to meet increasing energy demands while also balancing the impact of energy being supplied by fossil-based fuels. The efficacy of water splitting strongly depends on the performance of electrocatalysts. Herein, we report a unique space-confined earth-abundant electrocatalyst having the bifunctionality of simultaneous hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER), leading to high-efficiency water splitting. Outperforming Pt/C or RuO2 catalysts, this mesoscopic, space-confined, bifunctional configuration is constructed from a monolithic zeolitic imidazolate framework@layered double hydroxide (ZIF@LDH) precursor on Ni foam. Such a confinement leads to a high dispersion of ultrafine Co3O4 nanoparticles within the N-doped carbon matrix by temperature-dependent calcination of the ZIF@LDH. We demonstrate that the OER has an overpotential of 318 mV at a current density of 10 mA cm–2, while that of HER is −106 mV @ −10 mA cm–2. The voltage applied to a two-electrode cell for overall water splitting is 1.59 V to achieve a stable current density of 10 mA cm–2 while using the monolithic catalyst as both the anode and the cathode. It is anticipated that our space-confined method, which focuses on earth-abundant elements with structural integrity, may provide a novel and economically sound strategy for practical energy conversion applications.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b10338

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b10338

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