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Exploring bifunctional catalysts for the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions (HER and OER) with high efficiency, low cost, and easy integration is extremely crucial for future renewable energy systems. Herein, ternary NiCoP nanosheet arrays (NSAs) were fabricated on 3D Ni foam by a facile hydrothermal method followed by phosphorization. These arrays serve as bifunctional alkaline catalysts, exhibiting excellent electrocatalytic performance and good working stability for both the HER and OER. The overpotentials of the NiCoP NSA electrode required to drive a current density of 50 mA/cm2 for the HER and OER are as low as 133 and 308 mV, respectively, which is ascribed to excellent intrinsic electrocatalytic activity, fast electron transport, and a unique superaerophobic structure. When NiCoP was integrated as both anodic and cathodic material, the electrolyzer required a potential as low as ~1.77 V to drive a current density of 50 mA/cm2 for overall water splitting, which is much smaller than a reported electrolyzer using the same kind of phosphide-based material and is even better than the combination of Pt/C and Ir/C, the best known noble metal-based electrodes. Combining satisfactory working stability and high activity, this NiCoP electrode paves the way for exploring overall water splitting catalysts.

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Publication history

Received: 23 March 2016
Revised: 13 April 2016
Accepted: 15 April 2016
Published: 01 June 2016
Issue date: August 2016

Copyright

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

This work was support by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21125101 and 21520102002), the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in the University, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, and the long-term subsidy mechanism from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education of PRC.

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Reprints and Permission requests may be sought directly from editorial office.
Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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