Important Progress in Magnetic Field-assisted Enhancement of Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution Performance

As a clean energy, hydrogen will play an important role in the future energy landscape. Hydrogen production by electrolysis of water has the advantages of low cost, high efficiency, environmental friendliness, and good safety, and is favored by people. At present, the solid-state catalysts with the best electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction activity are precious metals platinum, palladium, iridium, etc., but precious metals are scarce in reserves and expensive, and are not suitable for large-scale production. Therefore, it is necessary to develop inexpensive and efficient non-precious metal electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution. Catalysts containing magnetic elements such as Fe, Co, and Ni exhibit excellent catalytic activity, stability, and price advantages, and are considered as one of the most promising catalysts to replace noble metals.

The research team of amorphous alloy magnetoelectric functional properties of Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences has long been committed to the development of new magnetic catalysts and their performance optimization. In the early stage, based on magnetic elements such as Fe, Co, and Ni, a rapid preparation and screening method of multi-component magnetic catalysts was developed [ACS Catal. 2022 (12) 3789]; and a variety of magnetic catalysts with high activity were developed [J . Mater. Chem. A 2020 (8) 3246; J. Alloy Compd. 2021 (880) 160548].

Recently, under the guidance of researchers Wang Junqiang and Huo Juntao, graduate students of the team, Cai Liang and others, have made important progress in magnetic field-assisted enhancement of electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution performance. This work systematically studies the effect of an external alternating magnetic field (AMF) on the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) of Fe-Co-Ni-P-B magnetic catalysts and its microscopic mechanism. It is found that AMF can significantly improve the HER catalytic efficiency of the magnetic catalyst, and its current density increases by 27% under an applied magnetic field of 20 mT. The results show that the magnetic field-enhanced HER catalytic performance is mainly attributed to the improved charge transfer efficiency by the Lorentz force, while the contribution of the magnetocaloric effect is minor. In addition, the high permeability of Fe-Co-Ni-P-B electrodes and the skin effect of electromagnetic eddy currents can further amplify the Lorentz effect. This work clarifies a new mechanism for AMF to enhance the HER activity of magnetic catalysts, and provides a new idea for further improving the performance of magnetic catalytic materials. The related results were published in the internationally renowned journal ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022 (14) 15243 under the title of “Key Role of Lorentz Excitation in the Electromagnetic-Enhanced Hydrogen Evolution Reaction”.

The above work results have been supported by the National Key R&D Program (2018YFA0703604, 2018YFA0703602), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51827801, 51922102, 52071327, 92163108), the Youth Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2019296), and the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (LR22E010004, 2022C01023) and other projects .

Fig.1 Effect of alternating magnetic field on the electrocatalytic performance of magnetic catalysts

Fig. 2 Schematic diagram of the microscopic mechanism of alternating magnetic field to enhance the electrocatalytic performance of magnetic catalysts

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