Dispersive non-noble metal phosphide embedded in alumina arrays derived from layered double hydroxide precursor toward efficient oxygen evolution reaction and biomass upgrading
Exploring high-performance and stable electrocatalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is of critical for conversion and storage of renewable energy. Herein, a novel strategy is developed for the construction of dispersive nickel phosphide (Ni2P) embedded in two-dimensional (2D) amorphous alumina arrays on three-dimensional (3D) nickel foam (NiP-Al2O3/NF) electrocatalysts via a reduction of layered double hydroxides (LDHs) precursor. Owing to its unique 3D nano/micro-architecture, multi-porous structure, interconnected conductive skeleton, and highly dispersive Ni2P active sites, the NiP-Al2O3/NF electrocatalyst exhibits excellent OER activity with overpotential as low as 193 mV at 10 mA cm-2 in a 1.0 M KOH solution, and superior catalytic activity for the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfrufurl in alkaline media. Density functional theory calculations demonstrate that introduction of P to Ni can effectively reduce the overpotential of OER. Furthermore, benefiting from the flexibility of compositional tailoring in both brucite-like layers and interlayer anions of LDH, the synthesis strategy presented here can be easily extended to the fabrication of various nanostructured noble-metal-free functional materials which are expected to have wide application prospect in many domains, especially in catalysis.