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Iridium nanoparticles anchored on 3D graphite foam as a bifunctional electrocatalyst for excellent overall water splitting in acidic solution

: Zhang, Jian; Wang, Gang; Liao, Zhongquan; Zhang, Panpan; Wang, Faxing; Zhuang, Xiaodong; Zschech, Ehrenfried; Feng, Xinliang


Nano energy 40 (2017), pp.27-33
ISSN: 2211-2855
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IKTS ()
Bifunctional; Electrocatalyst; Electrolyser; Graphite foam; Iridium; Water splitting

The proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) water-splitting electrolyser is a highly appealing technology for economical hydrogen production. Unfortunately, only Iridium (Ir)-based electrocatalysts show efficient and stable activity towards oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in acidic medium, which seriously hampers the large-scale utilization of PEM water splitting electrolyser as a result of high cost and scarcity of the Ir. Here, we report synthesis of Ir nanoparticles on 3D graphite foam (Ir/GF) upon a heat treatment of Ir3+/polyaniline complex that were beforehand prepared on the GF. Benefiting from low content of Ir (5.91 wt%) and excellent resistance of 3D graphite foam against oxidative corrosion, the resultant Ir/GF functionalizes as a novel bifunctional electrocatalyst for overall water splitting in a 0.5 M H2SO4 solution. Noticeably, the HER and OER overpotentials of the Ir/GF at 10 mA/cm2 are only ~ 7 mV and ~ 290 mV, respectively, which are much lower than those of commercial Pt/C and Ir/C catalysts as well as reported Pt or Ir-based electrocatalysts. Significantly, an acidic water-splitting electrolyser with a current density of 10 mA/cm2 is steadily driven by the Ir/GF at a cell voltage of only ~ 1.55 V, which is substantially lower than 1.65 V for commercial Pt/C and Ir/C couple.