Ruthenium containing molecular electrocatalyst on glassy carbon for electrochemical water splitting†
Electrochemical water splitting constitutes one of the most promising strategies for converting water into hydrogen-based fuels, and this technology is predicted to play a key role in the transition towards a carbon-neutral energy economy. To enable the design of cost-effective electrolysis cells based on this technology, new and more efficient anodes with augmented water splitting activity and stability will be required. Herein, we report an active molecular Ru-based catalyst for electrochemically-driven water oxidation (overpotential of ∼395 mV at pH 7 phosphate buffer) and two simple methods for preparing anodes by attaching this catalyst onto glassy carbon through multi-walled carbon nanotubes to improve stability as well as reactivity. The anodes modified with the molecular catalyst were characterized by a broad toolbox of microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, and interestingly no RuO2 formation was detected during electrocatalysis over 4 h. These results demonstrate that the herein presented strategy can be used to prepare anodes that rival the performance of state-of-the-art metal oxide anodes.