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Issue 6, 2014
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Highly active and durable non-precious-metal catalysts encapsulated in carbon nanotubes for hydrogen evolution reaction

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Abstract

Employing a low-cost and highly efficient electrocatalyst to replace Pt-based catalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) has attracted increasing interest in renewable energy research. Earth-abundant transition metals such as Fe, Co and Ni have been investigated as promising alternatives in alkaline electrolytes. However, these non-precious-metal catalysts are not stable in acids, excluding their application in the acidic solid polymer electrolyte (SPE). Herein, we report a strategy to encapsulate 3d transition metals Fe, Co and the FeCo alloy into nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and investigated their HER activity in acidic electrolytes. The optimized catalysts exhibited long-term durability and high activity with only an ∼70 mV onset overpotential vs. RHE which is quite close to that of the commercial 40% Pt/C catalyst, demonstrating the potential for the replacement of Pt-based catalysts. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations indicated that the introduction of metal and nitrogen dopants can synergistically optimize the electronic structure of the CNTs and the adsorption free energy of H atoms on CNTs, and therefore promote the HER with a Volmer–Heyrovsky mechanism.

Graphical abstract: Highly active and durable non-precious-metal catalysts encapsulated in carbon nanotubes for hydrogen evolution reaction

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Jan 2014, accepted on 07 Apr 2014 and first published on 07 Apr 2014


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00370E
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 1919-1923
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    Highly active and durable non-precious-metal catalysts encapsulated in carbon nanotubes for hydrogen evolution reaction

    J. Deng, P. Ren, D. Deng, L. Yu, F. Yang and X. Bao, Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 1919
    DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00370E

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