Scientific reports

Innovative Strategy on Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Utilizing Activated Liquid Water.

PMID 26541371


Splitting water for hydrogen production using light, or electrical energy, is the most developed 'green technique'. For increasing efficiency in hydrogen production, currently, the most exciting and thriving strategies are focused on efficient and inexpensive catalysts. Here, we report an innovative idea for efficient hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) utilizing plasmon-activated liquid water with reduced hydrogen-bonded structure by hot electron transfer. This strategy is effective for all HERs in acidic, basic and neutral systems, photocatalytic system with a g-C3N4 (graphite carbon nitride) electrode, as well as in an inert system with an ITO (indium tin oxide) electrode. Compared to deionized water, the efficiency of HER increases by 48% based on activated water ex situ on a Pt electrode. Increase in energy efficiency from activated water is 18% at a specific current yield of -20 mA in situ on a nanoscale-granulated Au electrode. Moreover, the onset potential of -0.023 V vs RHE was very close to the thermodynamic potential of the HER (0 V). The measured current density at the corresponding overpotential for HER in an acidic system was higher than any data previously reported in the literature. This approach establishes a new vista in clean green energy production.