Solar-driven, highly sustained splitting of seawater into hydrogen and oxygen fuels

Yun Kuang, Michael J. Kenney, Yongtao Meng, Wei Hsuan Hung, Yijin Liu, Jianan Erick Huang, Rohit Prasanna, Pengsong Li, Yaping Li, Lei Wang, Meng Chang Lin, Michael D. McGehee, Xiaoming Sun, Hongjie Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

442 Citations (Scopus)


Electrolysis of water to generate hydrogen fuel is an attractive renewable energy storage technology. However, grid-scale freshwater electrolysis would put a heavy strain on vital water resources. Developing cheap electrocatalysts and electrodes that can sustain seawater splitting without chloride corrosion could address the water scarcity issue. Here we present a multilayer anode consisting of a nickel–iron hydroxide (NiFe) electrocatalyst layer uniformly coated on a nickel sulfide (NiSx) layer formed on porous Ni foam (NiFe/NiSx-Ni), affording superior catalytic activity and corrosion resistance in solar-driven alkaline seawater electrolysis operating at industrially required current densities (0.4 to 1 A/cm 2 ) over 1,000 h. A continuous, highly oxygen evolution reaction-active NiFe electrocatalyst layer drawing anodic currents toward water oxidation and an in situ-generated polyatomic sulfate and carbonate-rich passivating layers formed in the anode are responsible for chloride repelling and superior corrosion resistance of the salty-water-splitting anode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6624-6629
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticorrosion
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Hydrogen production
  • Seawater splitting
  • Solar driven

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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