Biomimetic organization of a ruthenium-doped collagen-based carbon scaffold for hydrogen evolution†
The electrochemical reduction of water to produce molecular hydrogen is a potential strategy for generating clean, renewable energy. However, the development of an efficient and durable catalyst remains a significant challenge. Inspired by nature, we herein describe a three-dimensional, porous hybrid catalyst fabricated by using a biomimetic approach, in which a small amount of ruthenium (Ru) nanoparticles is uniformly dispersed onto a carbonized collagen scaffold. Coordination between Ru nanoparticles and the active sites of collagen promotes the electrochemical formation of molecular hydrogen by altering the electronic state of Ru and regulating the free energy of hydrogen chemisorption. The prepared catalyst exhibits superior activity for hydrogen evolution, with an overpotential and Tafel slope comparable to those of a Pt/C catalyst. This work provides a novel perspective on the fabrication of high-efficiency electrochemical catalysts.