The Synergy Catalyst-Electrolyte and its Role in the Kinetics of Electrochemical Oxygen Evolution Reaction
Molecular Physics seminar
Monday 07 November 2016
to 11:00 at
Oscar Diaz Morales (SU / Chemical Physics)
Water splitting plays an important part of what many consider to be the most reliable solution to the world’s energy problem: converting solar energy into storable fuels (hydrogen, hydrocarbons, alcohols, etc). This process requires the oxidation of water into oxygen; however, the kinetics for this reaction is slow, which significantly reduces the efficiency of the overall process. Most of the theoretical and experimental attempts to understand the factors affecting the kinetics for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) focus in the properties of the catalysts, concentrating in developing catalysts able to reduce the intrinsic OER overpotential. Only few research efforts have been devoted to understand the role of the electrolyte in the OER electrocatalysis, which can however strongly affect the activity beyond catalyst optimization. In this talk, I will present a (spectro)-electrochemical study of the factors affecting the OER kinetics, not only by looking at the catalysts but also by addressing the role of the electrolyte in the catalytic process. I will show conclusive evidences proving that the electrolyte properties (i.e. anions, cations and pH) play a crucial role in the OER activity. Therefore, they should be considered in the rational design of solar-to-fuel energy conversion devices.