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A new concept to understand the formation of bulk- and surface-active layered (oxy)hydroxides for water oxidation

Understanding the formation of bulk- and surface-active layered (oxy)hydroxides for water oxidation starting from a cobalt selenite precursor

Jan Niklas Hausmann, Stefan Mebs, Konstantin Laun,  Ingo Zebger, Holger Dau, Prashanth W. Menezes and Matthias Driess

In an interdisciplinary approach, the three UniSysCat research groups of Holger Dau, Ingo Zebger and Matthias Driess introduced a new concept to understand the formation of bulk- and surface-active layered (oxy)hydroxides for water oxidation starting from a cobalt selenite precursor, while considering the substrate and the transformation conditions.

Implementing a sustainable global energy economy requires more than the construction of solar and wind power plants, as the fluctuations of these energy sources contrast the constant energy demand of society. A solution to this problem is a highly scalable energy storage technology. In this regard, fuels are advantageous as, for their scalability, only simple tanks must be constructed instead of highly resource-/energy-demanding batteries. Fuels contain reduced chemical species that can be burned using O2 under the release of energy. To close this energy storage cycle, oxidized compounds must be reduced while investing electric energy. The electrons for this process come from water (O−II) independent of whether the oxidized species are CO2 or protons. Therefore, catalytic oxygen evolution (OER) is the central process to form regenerative fuels from green electricity. The harsh conditions during OER lead to an in situ transformation of most materials. Herein, we introduce a new concept to understand this transformation while considering the substrate and the transformation conditions. Our detailed ex- and in situ investigations allow us to deduce structural relationships explaining different activities in layered double hydroxides, the most promising catalysts for the alkaline OER.

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