: Combining multiple species working in tandem for different hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) steps is an effective strategy to design HER electrocatalysts. Here, we engineered a hierarchical electrode for the HER composed of amorphous-TiO2/Cu nanorods (NRs) decorated with cost-effective Ru-Cu nanoheterostructures (Ru mass loading = 52 μg/cm2). Such an electrode exhibits a stable, over 250 h, low overpotential of 74 mV at -200 mA/cm2 for the HER in 1 M NaOH. The high activity of the electrode is attributed, by structural analysis, operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and first-principles simulations, to synergistic functionalities: (1) mechanically robust, vertically aligned Cu NRs with high electrical conductivity and porosity provide fast charge and gas transfer channels; (2) the Ru electronic structure, regulated by the size of Cu clusters at the surface, facilitates the water dissociation (Volmer step); (3) the Cu clusters grown atop Ru exhibit a close-to-zero Gibbs free energy of the hydrogen adsorption, promoting fast Heyrovsky/Tafel steps. An alkaline electrolyzer (AEL) coupling the proposed cathode and a stainless-steel anode can stably operate in both continuous (1 A/cm2 for over 200 h) and intermittent modes (accelerated stress tests). A techno-economic analysis predicts the minimal overall hydrogen production cost of US$2.12/kg in a 1 MW AEL plant of 30 year lifetime based on our AEL single cell, hitting the worldwide targets (US$2-2.5/kgH2).

Ru-Cu Nanoheterostructures for Efficient Hydrogen Evolution Reaction in Alkaline Water Electrolyzers

Bellani, Sebastiano;Prato, Mirko;Pascazio, Roberta;Annamalai, Abinaya;De Trizio, Luca;Bonaccorso, Francesco;Manna, Liberato
2023-01-01

Abstract

: Combining multiple species working in tandem for different hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) steps is an effective strategy to design HER electrocatalysts. Here, we engineered a hierarchical electrode for the HER composed of amorphous-TiO2/Cu nanorods (NRs) decorated with cost-effective Ru-Cu nanoheterostructures (Ru mass loading = 52 μg/cm2). Such an electrode exhibits a stable, over 250 h, low overpotential of 74 mV at -200 mA/cm2 for the HER in 1 M NaOH. The high activity of the electrode is attributed, by structural analysis, operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and first-principles simulations, to synergistic functionalities: (1) mechanically robust, vertically aligned Cu NRs with high electrical conductivity and porosity provide fast charge and gas transfer channels; (2) the Ru electronic structure, regulated by the size of Cu clusters at the surface, facilitates the water dissociation (Volmer step); (3) the Cu clusters grown atop Ru exhibit a close-to-zero Gibbs free energy of the hydrogen adsorption, promoting fast Heyrovsky/Tafel steps. An alkaline electrolyzer (AEL) coupling the proposed cathode and a stainless-steel anode can stably operate in both continuous (1 A/cm2 for over 200 h) and intermittent modes (accelerated stress tests). A techno-economic analysis predicts the minimal overall hydrogen production cost of US$2.12/kg in a 1 MW AEL plant of 30 year lifetime based on our AEL single cell, hitting the worldwide targets (US$2-2.5/kgH2).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1147707
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