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Super-Hydrophilic Hierarchical Ni-Foam-Graphene-Carbon Nanotubes-Ni2P–CuP2 Nano-Architecture as Efficient Electrocatalyst for Overall Water Splitting

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posted on 24.02.2021, 14:06 by Sk Riyajuddin, Kashif Azmi, Mansi Pahuja, Sushil Kumar, Takahiro Maruyama, Chandan Bera, Kaushik Ghosh
Water splitting via an electrochemical process to generate hydrogen is an economic and green approach to resolve the looming energy and environmental crisis. The rational design of multicomponent materials with seamless interfaces having robust stability, facile scalability, and low-cost electrocatalysts is a grand challenge to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. Herein, we report a superhydrophilic homogeneous bimetallic phosphide of Ni2P–CuP2 on Ni-foam-graphene-carbon nanotubes (CNTs) heterostructure using facile electrochemical metallization followed by phosphorization without any intervention of metal-oxides/hydroxides. This bimetallic phosphide shows ultralow overpotentials of 12 (HER, hydrogen evolution reaction) and 140 mV (OER, oxygen evolution reaction) at current densities of 10 and 20 mA/cm2 in acidic and alkaline mediums, respectively. The excellent stability lasts for at least for 10 days at a high current density of 500 mA/cm2 without much deviation, inferring the practical utilization of the catalyst toward green fuel production. Undoubtedly, the catalyst is capable enough for overall water splitting at a very low cell voltage of 1.45 V @10 mA/cm2 with an impressive stability of at least 40 h, showing a minimum loss of potential. Theoretical study has been performed to understand the reaction kinetics and d-band shifting among metal atoms in the heterostructure (Ni2P–CuP2) that favor the HER and OER activities, respectively. In addition, the catalyst demonstrates an alternate transformation of solar energy to green H2 production using a standard silicon solar cell. This work unveils a smart design and synthesizes a highly stable electrocatalyst against an attractive paradigm of commercial water electrolysis for renewable electrochemical energy conversion.