Particle size-controlled synthesis of high-performance MnCo-based materials for alkaline OER at fluctuating potentials†
For the large-scale generation of hydrogen via water electrolysis the design of long term stable and active catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) remains a key challenge. Most catalysts suffer from severe structural corrosion that becomes even more pronounced at fluctuating potentials. Herein, MnCo based cubic particles were prepared via a hydrothermal approach, in which the edge length of the micron-sized particles can be controlled by changing the pH value of the precursor solution. The cubes are composed of varying amounts of MnCo2O4, CoCO3 and a mixed (Mn/Co)CO3 phase. Structure–activity relationships were deduced revealing a volcano-type behavior for the intrinsic OER activity and fraction of spinel oxide phase. A low overpotential of 0.37 V at 10 mA cm−2 and a stability of more than 25 h was achieved in 1.0 M KOH using a rotating disc electrode (RDE) setup. The best performing catalyst material was successfully tested under dynamic process conditions for 9.5 h and shows a superior catalytic activity as anode for the overall water splitting in an electrolyser setup in 1.0 M KOH at 333 K compared to a reference NiCo-spinel catalyst.