Influence of Non-Conducting Zirconia on the Electrochemical Performance of Nickel Oxide in Alkaline Media at Room Temperature

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A composite of nickel(II) oxide and tetragonal-phase zirconia was synthesized using a co-precipitation technique and its performance as a bifunctional electrocatalyst in carbonate alkaline media at room temperature was examined. It was found that the non-conducting tetragonal-phase zirconia was active to adsorb carbonate anions, abstract oxygen and donate activated oxygen species to nickel oxide. NiO provided electronic conductivity and electrocatalytically active sites to facilitate the partial oxidation of methane to oxygenates at room temperature. This discovery of oxidation reactions utilizing carbonate anions could potentially open the door to new avenues of research for alternative alkaline electrochemical cells operating at low temperature with CO32− as the transport ion.