Sustainable Hydrogen Generation by Catalytic Hydrolysis of NaBH4 Using Tailored Nanostructured Urchin-like CuCo2O4 Spinel Catalyst

  • Komal N. Patil
  • Divya Prasad
  • Jayesh T. Bhanushali
  • Hern Kim
  • Amol B. Atar
  • Bhari Mallanna NagarajaEmail author
  • Arvind H. JadhavEmail author


The present study describes the hydrogen production as a future energy source via hydrolysis of NaBH4 catalyzed by urchin-like CuCo2O4 spinel catalyst prepared by urea-assisted hydrothermal synthesis method. The as-synthesized copper–cobalt double hydroxide precursor and the resultant CuCo2O4 spinel were characterized by using various analytical, spectroscopic and microscopic techniques in order to understand their physiochemical and morphological aspects. The detail characterization results confirmed the successful formation of CuCo2O4 spinel phase with urchin-like morphology. The CuCo2O4 spinel catalyst was then tested for its application in hydrogen generation from NaBH4 hydrolysis by performing the reaction using 10 wt% of CuCo2O4 spinel catalyst and 0.5 g NaBH4 at room temperature. The CuCo2O4 spinel catalyst with tailored architecture displayed high catalytic activity with H2 generation rate of 1370 mL min−1 g−1 (1438 mL in 21 min). Major factors affecting the hydrolysis of NaBH4 reaction such as catalyst loading, NaOH concentration and temperature variation was also studied and discussed in detail. Correspondingly, the low activation energy of 22 kJ mol−1 was obtained from the Arrhenius plot and kinetic studies revealed that the hydrolysis of NaBH4 followed first order kinetics. Further, recyclability study of CuCo2O4 spinel catalyst was also performed which displayed good catalytic activity and stability even after five successive recycles. Characterization data of reused catalyst revealed that physiochemical properties of fresh CuCo2O4 spinel catalyst were well-preserved in the reused catalyst as well. Therefore, nanostructured CuCo2O4 spinel can be demonstrated as one of the most efficient, cost effective bimetallic spinel catalyst so far for application in the hydrogen generation.

Graphic Abstract


CuCo2O4 spinel Urchin-like morphology Heterogeneous catalyst Hydrogen generation NaBH4 hydrolysis 



Authors would like to thank Centre for Nano and Material Sciences (CNMS), JAIN (Deemed to be University), Bangalore for funding support through the basic research grant of JAIN (No-11(39)/17/005/2017SG). The authors also acknowledge Nano Mission Project SR/NM/NS-20/2014, DST, Government of India, for providing FESEM and XRD facility.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Komal N. Patil
    • 1
  • Divya Prasad
    • 1
  • Jayesh T. Bhanushali
    • 1
  • Hern Kim
    • 2
  • Amol B. Atar
    • 3
  • Bhari Mallanna Nagaraja
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arvind H. Jadhav
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Nano and Material ScienceJain UniversityBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Energy Science and Technology, Smart Living Innovation Technology CenterMyongji UniversityYonginRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of ChemistrySejong UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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