Electrochemical water splitting using nano-zeolite Y supported tungsten oxide electrocatalysts

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Zeolites are often used as supports for metals and metal oxides because of their well-defined microporous structure and high surface area. In this study, nano-zeolite Y (50–150 nm range) and micro-zeolite Y (500–800 nm range) were loaded with WO3, by impregnating the zeolite support with ammonium metatungstate and thermally decomposing the salt thereafter. Two different loadings of WO3 were studied, 3 wt.% and 5 wt.% with respect to the overall catalyst. The prepared catalysts were characterized for their morphology, structure, and surface areas through scanning electron microscope (SEM), XRD, and BET. They were further compared for their electrocatalytic activity for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in 0.5 M H2SO4. On comparing the bare micro-zeolite particles with the nano-form, the nano-zeolite Y showed higher currents with comparable overpotentials and lower Tafel slope of 62.36 mV/dec. WO3 loading brought about a change in the electrocatalytic properties of the catalyst. The overpotentials and Tafel slopes were observed to decrease with zeolite-3 wt.% WO3. The smallest overpotential of 60 mV and Tafel slope of 31.9 mV/dec was registered for nano-zeolite with 3 wt.% WO3, while the micro-zeolite gave an overpotential of 370 mV and a Tafel slope of 98.1 mV/dec. It was concluded that even with the same metal oxide loading, nano-zeolite showed superior performance, which is attributed to its size and hence easier escape of hydrogen bubbles from the catalyst.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the ADNOC Refining Research Centre (ARRC), Abu Dhabi, for partially funding this work.

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Correspondence to Raed Hashaikeh.

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Anis, S.F., Hashaikeh, R. Electrochemical water splitting using nano-zeolite Y supported tungsten oxide electrocatalysts. J Nanopart Res 20, 47 (2018) doi:10.1007/s11051-018-4153-2

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  • Nano-zeolite Y
  • Tungsten oxide
  • Hydrogen evolution reaction
  • Nanostructured catalysts