A research group led by Prof. LU Zhiyi at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has proposed a facile and cost-effective strategy to synthesize a hybrid cathode, achieving high-performance seawater electrolysis for hydrogen generation. The study was published in Advanced Functional Materials.
Hydrogen can be generated through seawater electrolysis, which helps preserve freshwater supplies and thus has been considered as a sustainable energy conversion and storage strategy.
Electrolyzing seawater powered by offshore renewable energy, such as solar, wind, and tidal energy, is a promising crucial route to generate green hydrogen, contributing to the goal of "peak carbon dioxide emission and carbon neutrality".
However, the complex fluctuation of offshore renewable energy, such as solar, wind, and tidal energy, under extreme conditions has limited the performance of hydrogen generation.
Researchers at NIMTE proposed a facile strategy involving etching, sulfuration, and electrodeposition, thus synthesize a Cu2S@NiS@Ni/NiMo cathode on the scale of 10 × 10 cm2.
The hybrid cathode exhibited superior hydrogen evolution performance, with 190 and 250 mV overpotential at the current density of 1000 mA cm-2 in alkaline artificial seawater and real seawater, respectively.
In addition, the superaerophobic nanoarray structure enables hydrogen mass transport even at heavy current density.
Under steady-state conditions, the developed cathode showed negligible overpotential loss after over 2000 h at 500 mA cm-2, indicating the excellent stability of the cathode.
Despite the complex fluctuation of offshore renewable energy, the hybrid cathode showed great anti-corrosion ability, with endurance of 1500 h under accelerated start/stop practical-relevant conditions.
Moreover, the evaluation of performance and costs has illuminated the great potential of the synthesized cathode in industrial scale-up sustainable hydrogen production.
The study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Project (No. 2021YFA1502200/Z.Y.L), the Ningbo Yongjiang Talent Introduction Programme (No. 2021A-036-B/Z.Y.L), the Bellwethers Project of Zhejiang Research and Development Plan (No. 2022C01158/Z.Y.L), the Ningbo S&T Innovation 2025 Major Special Program (No. 2022Z205/Q.H.Y), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC; no. 22105214/W.W.X), etc.
Fig. The hybrid cathode for high-performance hydrogen generation (Image by NIMTE)
Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering