Alternative catalysts based on carbides of Group 5 (niobium and tantalum) and 6 (chromium, molybdenum and tungsten) metals were prepared as films on the metallic substrates. The electrochemical activities of these carbide electrodes towards the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in concentrated phosphoric acid were investigated in a temperature range from 80 to 170°C. A significant dependence of the activities on temperature was observed for all five carbide samples. Through the entire temperature range Group 6 metal carbides showed higher activity than that of the Group 5 metal carbides, attributable to the different electronic structures. Tungsten carbide among the studied electrode samples exhibited the highest HER activity. Upon anodic potential scans in the presence of oxygen, chromium, tantalum and tungsten carbides displayed passivation due to the formation of stable surface layers whereas niobium and molybdenum carbides seemed to undergo corrosion.
Electrochimica Acta, 2014, Vol 137, p. 639-646
Metal carbides; Activity and stability; Hydrogen evolution reaction; Phosphoric acid; High temperature