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Title: An Efficient and Robust Surface-Modified Iron Electrode for Oxygen Evolution in Alkaline Water Electrolysis

Iron is unstable as an oxygen evolution electrode in alkaline media. Thus, relatively expensive nickel-based electrodes are used in industrial alkaline water electrolysis. We show that an iron substrate can be rendered stable and electrocatalytically active for the oxygen evolution reaction by nano-scale surface modification with nickel. The electrocatalytic activity of such a surface-modified iron electrode is comparable to the recently-reported nickel-based catalysts. The electrocatalytic activity is due to a 50-nanometer layer of a high-surface area a-nickel hydroxide on the iron electrode. The nickel modification renders the iron electrode electrically-conductive, prevents dielectric breakdown, and thus endows anodic stability. The electrocatalytic activity is unchanged even after 1000 hours of continuous operation. The temperature of preparation is critical, as excessive dehydration of the hydroxide layer results in nickel ferrite formation and a drastic reduction in electrocatalytic activity. We report significant insight into the surface chemical composition and structure of the catalyst layer by X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and Transmission Electron Microscopy. Electrochemical kinetics analysis suggests that surface hydroxo-intermediates react with the hydroxide ions from the solution to evolve oxygen. Furthermore, the surface-modified iron substrates present an opportunity for improving the performance and reducing the cost of alkaline water electrolysis systems. (C)more » The Author(s) 2018. Published by ECS.« less
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  1. Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 165; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
The Electrochemical Society
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; Electrocatalysis; Electrolysis; Oxygen Evolution
OSTI Identifier: