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Selective Hydrogen Evolution on Manganese Oxide Coated Electrodes: New Cathodes for Sodium Chlorate Production

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journal contribution
posted on 15.06.2019, 00:00 authored by Balázs Endrődi, Aleksandra Stojanovic, Maria Cuartero, Nina Simic, Mats Wildlock, Roland de Marco, Gaston A. Crespo, Ann Cornell
The safety and feasibility of industrial electrochemical production of sodium chlorate, an important chemical in the pulp and paper industry, depend on the selectivity of the electrode processes. The cathodic reduction of anodic products is sufficiently suppressed in the current technology by the addition of chromium­(VI) to the electrolyte, but due to the high toxicity of these compounds, alternative pathways are required to maintain high process efficiency. In this paper, we evaluate the electrochemical hydrogen evolution reaction kinetics and selectivity on thermally formed manganese oxide-coated titanium electrodes in hypochlorite and chlorate solutions. The morphology and phase composition of manganese oxide layers were varied via alteration of the annealing temperature during synthesis, as confirmed by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, synchrotron radiation X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy measurements. As shown in mass spectroscopy coupled electrochemical measurements, the hydrogen evolution selectivity in hypochlorite and chlorate solutions is dictated by the phase composition of the coating. Importantly, a hydrogen evolution efficiency of above 95% was achieved with electrodes of optimized composition (annealing temperature, thickness) in hypochlorite solutions. Further, these electrode coatings are nontoxic and Earth-abundant, offering the possibility of a more sustainable chlorate production.