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PhD Thesis Defense - Jiahao Yu
Water Splitting Electrocatalysts in Acidic Media: in the Search of Non-noble Metal Alternatives

“Hydrogen Economy” is a most promising option to support the penetration and consolidation of renewable energy sources including wind, solar etc., as a clean alternative to fossil fuels. In addition, Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis is a commercially mature and sustainable technology for hydrogen production in acid but the lack of non-noble metal-based materials on both anode and cathode hinders its application in a large scale. Therefore, to search for efficient electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution working in acid is of great importance and urgency.

Proton-rich surrounding is favorable for hydrogen evolution reaction on the cathode. We have firstly developed a new technique for creating a novel hybrid nanocomposite that includes POM nanoparticles on 2D MXene nanosheets. Representatively, as-prepared Co9-POM/Ti3C2 exhibits excellent HER electrocatalytic performance in 0.5 M H2SO4 solution with much higher activity compared with Ti3C2 MXene and good stability for a long time. It opens an avenue for designing a highly efficient and durable non-precious-metal HER electrocatalysts in acidic medium with unique heterostructures.

On the other hand, acidic oxygen evolution on the anode is a serious challenge for OER catalysts working under high potential, which leads to deactivation and dissolution. Both to keep the high activity of a catalyst and stabilize its performance in acid, we present a promising processing protocol, which combines in one single anode two powerful strategies: the incorporation of a nanostructured MOF-derived OER catalyst (Co3O4@C) from earth-abundant metals to maximize active surface area, and using a conducting, partially hydrophobic binder as the support made from paraffin oil and graphite powder for protection. [...]

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Mar 23, 2023 11:00 AM in Madrid

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