Title: Nanocrystalline substituted cobalt-based metal oxides for oxygen evolution reaction: A prerequisite for photochemical water splitting
PI: Dr Aditi Singhal
Co-PI: Dr Arnab Dutta (IITGn)
Project Duration: 3 years (2017-2020)
Funding Organization: DST-SERB Extra Mural Research Award (EMR)
Funding Amount: Approx. Rs. 32 Lakhs
Summary: Clean and environmentally friendly energy is the most important need of the 21st century. It is well known that the use of fossil fuels causes problems connected with source available as well as with environmental compatibility. Hydrogen is going to be an important part of future energy systems and therefore, electrocatalysts that will evolve hydrogen with the lowest possible energy consumption will be very important. Electrocatalysis of water can be the best way to bridge the global energy supply between the present era of fossil fuels and the future era based on the hydrogen economy. Water splitting, however, is controlled by difficult oxygen evolution reaction (OER) step because it involves 4 electrons and 4 protons transfer. If an efficient catalyst for OER could be developed, hydrogen can be produced efficiently by combining the catalyst with a solar device. In this way, oxygen and hydrogen can be generated without hampering the environment.
In this context, the current project focuses on designing more advanced cobalt-based metal oxides and substituting them with transition metals. Cobalt oxide based materials have been chosen because they are economical and have shown promising activity towards OER recently. Prepared materials will be used as oxygen evolution reaction (OER) electrocatalysts with the aim to get higher catalytic activity in terms of low overpotential and high current density. The catalytic OER, on one hand, will give oxygen and on other hand it will also provide a cost-effective route for clean, renewable hydrogen fuel which will be able to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and also result in minimizing the environmental pollution.