Dynamic active sites on plasma engraved Ni hydroxide for enhanced electro-catalytic urea oxidation

Dan Li, Yuefeng Zhang, Xiaomin Zhou, Chao Huang, Ying Wen, Liangliang Liu, Qingwei Li, Yue Xu, Yuzheng Wu, Qingdong Ruan, Yinghe Ma, Fangyu Xiong, Dezhi Xiao, Pei Liu, Guomin Wang, Babak Mehrjou, Bin Wang, Hao Li, Rongsheng Chen, Hongwei NiZhiyuan Zeng, Paul K. Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The urea oxidization reaction (UOR) is an important anodic reaction in electro-catalytic energy conversion. However, the sluggish reaction kinetics and complex catalyst transformation in electrocatalysis require activity improvement and better mechanistic understanding of the state-of-the-art Ni(OH)2 catalyst. Herein, by utilizing low-temperature argon (Ar) plasma processing, tooth-wheel Ni(OH)2 nanosheets self-supported on Ni foam (Ni(OH)2-Ar) are demonstrated to have improved UOR activity compared to conventional Ni(OH)2. The theoretical assessment confirms that the edge has a smaller cation vacancy formation energy than the basal plane, consequently explaining the structural formation. Operando and quasi-operando methods are employed to investigate the dynamic evolution of the Ni(OH)2 film in UOR. The crucial dehydrogenation products of Ni(OH)5O- intermediates are identified to be stable on the etched edge and explain the enhanced UOR in the low potential region. In addition, the dynamic active sites are monitored to elucidate the reaction mechanism in different potential ranges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-158
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Energy Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Active site
  • Dehydrogenation
  • Ni hydroxide
  • Plasma processing
  • Urea oxidization reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrochemistry


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