Replacing critical raw materials employed in water electrolysis applications as electrocatalysts with earth-abundant materials is paramount for the future upscaling to industrial dimensions. In that regard, Ni and Ni-based multimetallic hydroxides, above all NiFe-hydroxides, have shown promising performance towards the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in alkaline conditions. However, it has been shown that the extraordinary performance of these materials is owed largely to Fe impurities found in commercial KOH from which electrolyte solutions are prepared. The mechanism of action of these impurities is still not fully understood, and therefore, at the heart of ongoing discussions. In this study, we investigate the OER activity of different nanostrcutured (Ni1-xFex)OOH samples and find their activities to be influenced differently by the presence of Fe impurities in the electrolyte. From the gathered data, we conclude that the presence of Fe impurities impacts gravely the structure sensitivity of the OER. In purified electrolyte solutions the OER appears to be a structure-sensitive reaction while this seems not to be the case in the presence of said impurities.
Supporting information including PDF parameters and fits.