The four-electron oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is the bottleneck in the overall water splitting process, which needs to be addressed for the better hydrogen economy of an electrolyzer. In this work, a bimetallic metal-organic framework with the formula [Co(C4H4N2)(VO3)2] was annealed at 500, 600, and 700 °C in an argon atmosphere to yield CoV@500, CoV@600, and CoV@700, respectively. The high-temperature annealing leads to the generation of heterostructured nanoparticles of crystalline spinel oxide Co2VO4 and amorphous VOx wrapped with a carbon and nitrogen matrix. CoV@600 exhibits superior OER performance to afford the state-of-the-art current density of 10 mA cm−2 at a lower overpotential of 273 mV and a small Tafel slope of 54.32 mV dec−1 that outperformed the benchmark electrocatalyst RuO2 and other catalysts used here. The superior OER performance could be ascribed to the lower charge transfer resistance, presence of oxygen vacancy, and lattice defects. Interestingly, the long-term chronopotentiometric stability exhibits a lowering in the overpotential with time, and a detailed investigation of the catalyst after OER manifests the leaching of the amorphous vanadium oxide and oxidation of Co(ii) to Co(iii) induced by the potential bias. Leaching triggers the surface decoration of cobalt oxyhydroxide (CoOOH) with core spinel oxide (Co2VO4) as confirmed from XPS, TEM, FESEM, and PXRD techniques. Further, accelerated degradation studies and the LSV after the 1000th cycle present a lowered overpotential of 241 mV at 10 mA cm−2 current density. The synergistic effect between the active CoOOH surface and defect-rich core spinel oxide could be the origin of the enhanced OER performance. This work not only presents superior OER performance of the annealed product of the framework but also demonstrates a strategy to obtain in situ bias-induced surface modification and emphasizes the importance of the postmortem analysis of a catalyst after catalysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology