Earth-abundant metals are attractive alternatives to the noble metal composite catalysts that are used in water electrolyzers based on proton-exchange membrane technology. Ni-Mo alloys have been previously developed for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), but synthesis methods to date have been limited to formation of catalyst coatings directly on a substrate. We report a method for generating unsupported nanopowders of Ni-Mo, which can be suspended in common solvents and cast onto arbitrary substrates. The mass-specific catalytic activity under alkaline conditions approaches that of the most active reported non-noble HER catalysts, and the coatings display good stability under alkaline conditions. We have also estimated turnover frequencies per surface atom at various overpotentials and conclude that the activity enhancement for Ni-Mo relative to pure Ni is due to a combination of increased surface area and increased fundamental catalytic activity.
- hydrogen evolution
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