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Efficient Water Oxidation Using Nanostructured α‑Nickel-Hydroxide as an Electrocatalyst
Minrui Gao, Wenchao Sheng, Zhongbin Zhuang, Qianrong Fang, Shuang Gu, Jun Jiang, Yushan Yan
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, United States
ABSTRACT: Electrochemical water splitting is a clean technology that can store the intermittent renewable wind and solar energy in H2 fuels. However, large-scale H2 production is greatly hindered by the sluggish oxygen evolution reaction (OER) kinetics at the anode of a water electrolyzer. Although many OER electrocatalysts have been developed to negotiate this difficult reaction, substantial progresses in the design of cheap, robust, and efficient catalysts are still required and have been considered a huge challenge. Herein, we report the simple synthesis and use of α-Ni(OH)2 nanocrystals as a remarkably active and stable OER catalyst in alkaline media. We found the highly nanostructured α-Ni(OH)2 catalyst afforded a current density of 10 mA cm−2 at a small overpotential of a mere 0.331 V and a small Tafel slope of ∼42 mV/decade, comparing favorably with the state-of-the-art RuO2 catalyst. This α-Ni(OH)O2 catalyst also presents outstanding durability under harsh OER cycling conditions, and its stability is much better than that of RuO2. Additionally, by comparing the performance of α-Ni(OH)2 with two kinds of β-Ni(OH)2, all synthesized in the same system, we experimentally demonstrate that α-Ni(OH)2 effects more efficient OER catalysis. These results suggest the possibility for the development of effective and robust OER electrocatalysts and easily prepared α-Ni(OH)2 to replace the expensive commercial catalysts such as RuO2 or IrO2.