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Nested hollow architectures of nitrogen-doped carbon-decorated Fe, Co, Ni-based phosphides for boosting water and urea electrolysis


Tailoring the nanostructure/morphology and chemical composition is important to regulate the electronic configuration of electrocatalysts and thus enhance their performance for water and urea electrolysis. Herein, the nitrogen-doped carbon-decorated tricomponent metal phosphides of FeP4 nanotube@Ni-Co-P nanocage (NC-FNCP) with unique nested hollow architectures are fabricated by a self-sacrifice template strategy. Benefiting from the multi-component synergy, the modification of nitrogen-doped carbon, and the modulation of nested porous hollow morphology, NC-FNCP facilitates rapid electron/mass transport in water and urea electrolysis. NC-FNCP-based anode shows low potentials of 248 mV and 1.37 V (vs. reversible hydrogen electrode) to attain 10 mA/cm2 for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and urea oxidation reaction (UOR), respectively. In addition, the overall urea electrolysis drives 10 mA/cm2 at a comparatively low voltage of 1.52 V (vs. RHE) that is 110 mV lower than that of overall water electrolysis, as well as exhibits excellent stability over 20 h. This work strategizes a multi-shell-structured electrocatalyst with multi-compositions and explores its applications in a sustainable combination of hydrogen production and sewage remediation.


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The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21601120), the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (Nos. 17ZR1410500 and 19ZR1418100), Science and Technology Program of Shanghai (No. 21010500300), STINT Joint China-Sweden Mobility Project (No. CH2017-7243), and Swedish Government strategic faculty grant in material science (SFO, MATLIU) in Advanced Functional Materials (AFM) (VR Dnr. 5.1-2015-5959). We also appreciate the High-Performance Computing Center of Shanghai University, and Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Intelligent Computing System (No. 19DZ2252600) for providing the computing resources and technical support.

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Correspondence to Shoushuang Huang, Zhiwen Chen or Zhangjun Hu.

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Open access funding provided by Linköping University.

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Nested hollow architectures of nitrogen-doped carbon-decorated Fe, Co, Ni-based phosphides for boosting water and urea electrolysis

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Zhang, J., Huang, S., Ning, P. et al. Nested hollow architectures of nitrogen-doped carbon-decorated Fe, Co, Ni-based phosphides for boosting water and urea electrolysis. Nano Res. (2021).

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  • tri-metal phosphides
  • nested hollow nano-architecture
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • urea oxidation reaction