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Selecting Support Layer for Electrodeposited Efficient Cobalt Oxide/Hydroxide Nanoflakes to Split Water

Naseri, Naimeh, Esfandiar, Ali, Qorbani, Mohammad, Moshfegh, Alireza Z.
ACS sustainable chemistry 2016 v.4 no.6 pp. 3151-3159
carbon nanotubes, clean energy, cobalt, cobalt oxide, copper, electrochemistry, energy, energy resources, foams, graphene, hydrogen, nickel, oxidation, steel, titanium
Energy and environment crises motivated scientists to develop sustainable, renewable, and clean energy resources mainly based on solar hydrogen. For this purpose, one main challenge is the low cost flexible substrates for designing earth abundant efficient cocatalysts to reduce required water oxidation overpotential. Here, a systematic morphological and electrochemical study has been reported for cobalt oxide/hydroxide nanoflakes simply electrodeposited on four different commercially available substrates, titanium, copper sheet, steel mesh, and nickel foam. Remarkable dependence between the used substrate, morphology, and electrocatalytic properties of nanoflakes introduced flexible porous steel layer as the best substrate for samples with 499 mV overpotential, 5.3 Ω charge transfer resistance, and 0.03 S–¹ turnover frequency. Besides, carbonaceous paste including carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets as the middle layer increased turnover frequency by 33%, effective surface interface nearly three times while it reduced 7.5% of resistance. Hence, optimizing the conductive nanostructured paste can lead to more efficient cobalt electrocatalysts exposing more active atomic surface sites.