Application of phase-pure nickel phosphide nanoparticles as cathode catalysts for hydrogen production in microbial electrolysis cells.

Author(s) Kim, K.Y.; Habas, S.E.; Schaidle, J.A.; Logan, B.E.
Journal Bioresour Technol
Date Published 2019 Aug 27

Transition metal phosphide catalysts such as nickel phosphide (NiP) have shown excellent activities for the hydrogen evolution reaction, but they have primarily been studied in strongly acidic or alkaline electrolytes. In microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), however, the electrolyte is usually a neutral pH to support the bacteria. Carbon-supported phase-pure NiP nanoparticle catalysts (NiP/C) were synthesized using solution-phase methods and their performance was compared to Pt/C and Ni/C catalysts in MECs. The NiP/C produced a similar quantity of hydrogen over a 24 h cycle (0.29 ± 0.04 L-H/L-reactor) as that obtained using Pt/C (0.32 ± 0.03 L-H/L) or Ni/C (0.29 ± 0.02 L-H/L). The mass normalized current density of the NiP/C was 14 times higher than that of the Ni/C, and the NiP/C exhibited stable performance over 11 days. NiP/C may therefore be a useful alternative to Pt/C or other Ni-based catalysts in MECs due to its chemical stability over time.

DOI 10.1016/j.biortech.2019.122067
ISSN 1873-2976
Citation Bioresour Technol. 2019;293:122067.

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