Designed synthesis of WC-based nanocomposites as low-cost, efficient and stable electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction†
It still remains a great challenge to develop alternative electrocatalysts with low cost, high efficiency and good stability for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). In this study, effectively conductive rGO (reduced graphene oxide) was used as the support both to promote charge transfer and to refine the particle size of WC, to realize efficient and stable HER performance. The facile in situ method can make highly dispersed WC nanoparticles firmly anchor onto the rGO substrate. Benefiting from its unique morphology and strong synergistic effect, the designed WC@rGO achieves a giant improvement in HER activity in both acidic and alkaline solutions compared with pristine WC. The overpotentials of WC@rGO are 2.82 and 2.30 times smaller than those of pristine WC to achieve 10 mA cm−2 in acid and alkaline solutions. More specifically, the Pt-modified WC electrocatalyst with negligible accumulation of Pt (4 wt%) even exhibits superior electrocatalytic performance (η10 and Tafel slope of 54 mV and 21 mV dec−1 in acid solution and 61 mV and 28 mV dec−1 in alkaline solution) to commercial 10 wt% Pt@C. The method reported in this study enables eco-friendly preparation of cheap, stable and effective HER electrodes.