Review Article


2016, 9(1): 28–46


A mini review on nickel-based electrocatalysts for alkaline hydrogen evolution reaction

Ming Gong1, Di-Yan Wang2, Chia-Chun Chen2,3 (), Bing-Joe Hwang4 (), and Hongjie Dai1 ()

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1 Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA 

2 Department of Chemistry, “National Taiwan Normal University”, Taipei 11677, Taiwan, China 

3 Institute of Atomic and Molecular Science, “Academia Sinica”, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, China 

4 Department of Chemical Engineering, “National Taiwan University of Science and Technology”, Taipei 10607, Taiwan, China

Keywords: hydrogen evolution reaction, nickel, alkaline electrolyzer, catalyst
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  • Abstract
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High gravimetric energy density, earth-abundance, and environmental friendliness of hydrogen sources have inspired the utilization of hydrogen fuel as a clean alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), a half reaction of water splitting, is crucial to the low-cost production of pure H2 fuels but necessitates the use of electrocatalysts to expedite reaction kinetics. Owing to the availability of low-cost oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts for the counter electrode in alkaline media and the lack of low-cost OER catalysts in acidic media, researchers have focused on developing HER catalysts in alkaline media with high activity and stability. Nickel is well-known as an HER catalyst and continuous efforts have been undertaken to improve Ni-based catalysts as alkaline electrolyzers. In this review, we summarize earlier studies of HER activity and mechanism on Ni surfaces, along with recent progress in the optimization of the Ni-based catalysts using various modern techniques. Recently developed Ni-based HER catalysts are categorized according to their chemical nature, and the advantages as well as limitations of each category are discussed. Among all Ni-based catalysts, Ni-based alloys and Ni-based hetero-structure exhibit the most promising electrocatalytic activity and stability owing to the fine-tuning of their surface adsorption properties via a synergistic nearby element or domain. Finally, selected applications of the developed Ni-based HER catalysts are highlighted, such as water splitting, the chloralkali process, and microbial electrolysis cell.
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A mini review on nickel-based electrocatalysts for alkaline hydrogen evolution reaction. Nano Res. 2016, 9(1): 28–46

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