Nickel and Nitrogen-Doped Bifunctional ORR and HER Electrocatalysts Derived from CO2

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Remmel, AL 
Ratso, S 
Danilson, M 
Mikli, V 

While nonprecious metal catalysts (NPMCs) have been shown to be viable alternatives for Pt-based catalyst materials in both proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and electrolyzers, all of the synthesis methods of these materials still have a positive carbon footprint. This means that, while the production of CO2 is avoided by converting to a hydrogen economy, a large amount of CO2 must be produced to drive this transition (as much as 600 kg of CO2 per kilogram of catalyst for CVD-based materials). Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, a sustainable method for synthesizing a bifunctional oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) catalyst directly from CO2 in a process that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or flue gases instead of producing it as all previous methods for creating ORR/HER catalysts. The electocatalytic activity of the material is correlated to its structure and synthesis conditions by a thorough physicochemical analysis including rotating disk electrode (RDE) measurements, porosity analysis with N2 physisorption, scanning and transition electron microscopy imaging (SEM, TEM) and X-ray analysis of the materials' crystal structure and elemental composition. The material shows promising activity and paves way for a dual approach on reducing the CO2 footprint of the energy economy.

Oxygen reduction, Hydrogen evolution, Nonprecious metal catalysts, Molten salt, Carbon capture, CO2 reduction
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ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
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American Chemical Society (ACS)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Research Infrastructures (RI) (823717)
This work was financially supported by the Estonian Research Council (Grant No. PRG1023). This research was also supported by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund (TK134 EQUiTANT, "Emerging Orders in Quantum and Nanomaterials", TK141, “Advanced Materials and High-Technology Devices for Energy Recuperation Systems”), (Projects Nos. 2014-2020.4.01.16-0041 and 2014- 2020.4.01.15-0005). The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program, under Grant Agreement No. 823717-ESTEEM3.