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nickel phosphide has been shown to be an electrocatalyst for CO2 reduction and photocatalysis. This is because the metal phosphide is relatively inert and can be shaped into many crystalline phases that allow for the utilisation of visible light to drive catalytic reactions at mild temperatures.
NiPy based photocatalysts are able to achieve high conversion rates and efficiencies in the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) process to produce hydrocarbons. This has the potential to be used as a source of fuels for renewable energy generation and solar fuel production.
In the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), NiPy based catalysts have been found to exhibit high exchange current densities and little deviation in the Tafel slope when placed on a rotating electrode. This is due to the fact that HER activity is directly related to phosphorus content and higher phosphorus phosphide catalysts appear more active than low phosphorus based materials.
Corrosion resistance in acid is also correlated with the phosphorus content of the material. Therefore, high phosphorus content nickel phosphide based electrocatalysts appear more resistant to corrosion in an acidic medium than low phosphorus phosphide based ones.
Phosphorus is a very toxic heavy metal and can be highly irritating to the skin, eyes and nasal cavities. It can also cause pulmonary disorders and cancer.
This is a common toxicity and can be avoided by using a full face self-contained breathing apparatus and limiting the amount of contact with the metal. It is also essential to wear gloves and a protective gown when handling this chemical.