Efficient electrochemical water oxidation in neutral and near-neutral systems with a nanoscale silver-oxide catalyst†
In electrocatalytic water splitting systems pursuing for renewable energy using sunlight, developing robust, stable and easily accessible materials operating under mild chemical conditions is pivotal. We present here a unique nanoparticulate type silver-oxide (AgOx-NP) based robust and highly stable electrocatalyst for efficient water oxidation. The AgOx-NP is generated in situ in a HCO3−/CO2 system under benign conditions. Micrographs show that they exhibit a nanoscale box type squared nano-bipyramidal configuration. The oxygen generation is initiated at low overpotential, and a sustained O2 evolution current density of >1.1 mA cm−2 is achieved during prolonged-period water electrolysis. The AgOx-NP electrocatalyst performs exceptionally well in metal-ion free neutral or near-neutral carbonate, phosphate and borate buffers relative to recently reported Co-oxide and Ni-oxide based heterogeneous electrocatalysts, which are unstable in metal-ion free electrolytes and tend to deactivate with time and lose catalytic performance during long-term experimental tests.