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Issue 6, 2013
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Biomass-derived electrocatalytic composites for hydrogen evolution

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The production of hydrogen from water electrolysis calls for an efficient non-precious-metal catalyst to make the process economically viable because of the high cost and the limited supply of the currently used platinum catalysts. Here we present such a catalyst made from earth-abundant molybdenum and common, humble soybeans (MoSoy). This catalyst, composed of a catalytic β-Mo2C phase and an acid-proof γ-Mo2N phase, drives the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) with low overpotentials, and is highly durable in a corrosive acidic solution over a period exceeding 500 hours. When supported on graphene sheets, the MoSoy catalyst exhibits very fast charge transfer kinetics, and its performance rivals that of noble-metal catalysts such as Pt for hydrogen production. These findings prove that the soybean (as well as other high-protein biomass) is a useful material for the generation of catalysts incorporating an abundant transition metal, thereby challenging the exclusivity of platinum catalysts in the hydrogen economy.

Graphical abstract: Biomass-derived electrocatalytic composites for hydrogen evolution

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Article information

21 Feb 2013
10 Apr 2013
First published
10 Apr 2013

Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 1818-1826
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Biomass-derived electrocatalytic composites for hydrogen evolution

W. Chen, S. Iyer, S. Iyer, K. Sasaki, C. Wang, Y. Zhu, J. T. Muckerman and E. Fujita, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 1818
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE40596F

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