Transition metal phosphide catalysts such as nickel phosphide (Ni2P) 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 Ni2P nanoparticle catalysts (Ni2P/C) were synthesized using solution-phase methods and their performance was compared to Pt/C and Ni/C catalysts in MECs. The Ni2P/C produced a similar quantity of hydrogen over a 24 h cycle (0.29 ± 0.04 L-H2/L-reactor) as that obtained using Pt/C (0.32 ± 0.03 L-H2/L) or Ni/C (0.29 ± 0.02 L-H2/L). The mass normalized current density of the Ni2P/C was 14 times higher than that of the Ni/C, and the Ni2P/C exhibited stable performance over 11 days. Ni2P/C may therefore be a useful alternative to Pt/C or other Ni-based catalysts in MECs due to its chemical stability over time.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal