Jul, 2021 - By SMI
Scientists designed a powerful catalyst for electrolysis of water that can be used to generate energy.
One of the methods to generate energy is by breaking water molecules using a method known as electrolysis. By using this process, solar energy or other renewable sources of energy can be converted into chemical energy. However, apart from the theoretical voltage, an excess voltage needs to be applied for splitting of water molecules for the necessary reactions to take place.
Electrochemical processes can be facilitated using materials called as electrocatalysts, as these materials have good electrical and morphological features. Some of the best available catalysts are noble-metal oxides, which are rare and costly. Nickel-based hydroxide (Ni(OH)2) compounds are a better alternative.
Research team from Dongguk University inserted polyoxovanadate (POV) nanoclusters into Ni(OH)2 arranged in ordered layers and observed that conducting and morphological properties are improved by doing this. This further helps to enhance its catalytic activity. Researchers utilized chemical solution growth (CSG) method, wherein a highly saturated solution is prepared, and the desired material structure naturally forms as the solutes precipitate in a predictable and controlled fashion, creating a layer-by-layer structure with POV nanoclusters intercalated between the Ni(OH)2 layers.
From the structure that was obtained, researchers were able to demonstrate that the resulting structure greatly reduced the overpotential, which is required for the electrolysis of water. This was attributed to the morphological features of this material. According to the researchers, the development of novel catalyst for electrolysis of water is expected to help in achieving a greener future. Moreover, CSG method finds applications in various other fields.
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