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Highly porous non-precious bimetallic electrocatalysts for efficient hydrogen evolution


A robust and efficient non-precious metal catalyst for hydrogen evolution reaction is one of the key components for carbon dioxide-free hydrogen production. Here we report that a hierarchical nanoporous copper-titanium bimetallic electrocatalyst is able to produce hydrogen from water under a mild overpotential at more than twice the rate of state-of-the-art carbon-supported platinum catalyst. Although both copper and titanium are known to be poor hydrogen evolution catalysts, the combination of these two elements creates unique copper-copper-titanium hollow sites, which have a hydrogen-binding energy very similar to that of platinum, resulting in an exceptional hydrogen evolution activity. In addition, the hierarchical porosity of the nanoporous copper-titanium catalyst also contributes to its high hydrogen evolution activity, because it provides a large-surface area for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution, and improves the mass transport properties. Moreover, the catalyst is self-supported, eliminating the overpotential associated with the catalyst/support interface.

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