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Investigation of oxygen evolution reaction with 316 and 304 stainless-steel mesh electrodes in natural seawater electrolysis

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Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
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Two commercially available stainless steel mesh substrates (316 SS and 304 SS) were evaluated as electrodes for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in natural seawater electrolysis. The results show the 304 SS is less stable against corrosion under neutral (pH of 8.5) and low alkaline (0.1 M NaOH, pH of 12.8) seawater electrolytes because of the direct metal dissolution and chlorine evolution reaction (CER), and the 316 SS is superior to 304 SS in terms of electrocatalytic activity and resistance to corrosion under the same media. The performance of 304 SS is comparable to 316 SS under the high alkaline (1 M NaOH, pH of 13.7) seawater electrolyte, where the CER and metal dissolution are suppressed by OER. The overpotential for 304 and 316 SS is around 430 mV at 10 mA cm−2, and the Tafel slopes are below 50 mV dec−1 under the high alkaline (1 M NaOH) seawater electrolyte, showing promising performance. The poor resistance to corrosion of 304 SS is attributed to the low Mo content, and it is supposed that the stability of both 304 and 316 SS can be improved further with the addition of Mo content. This work expands on promising substrates for natural seawater electrolysis, with cost and performance advantages.