In the pursuit of long-term stability for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in seawater, retaining the intrinsic catalytic activity is essential but has remained challenging. Herein, we developed a NixCryO electrocatalyst that manifested exceptional OER stability in alkaline condition while improving the activity over time by dynamic self-restructuring. In 1 M KOH, NixCryO required overpotentials of only 270 and 320 mV to achieve current densities of 100 and 500 mA cm-2, respectively, with excellent long-term stability exceeding 475 h at 100 mA cm-2 and 280 h at 500 mA cm-2. The combination of electrochemical measurements and in-situ studies revealed that leaching and redistribution of Cr during the prolonged electrolysis resulted in increased electrochemically active surface area. This eventually enhanced the catalyst porosity and improved OER activity. NixCryO was further applied in real seawater from the Red Sea (without purification, 1 M KOH added), envisaging that the dynamically evolving porosity can offset the adverse active site-blocking effect posed by the seawater impurities. Remarkably, NixCryO exhibited stable operation for 2000, 275 and 100 h in seawater at 10, 100 and 500 mA cm-2, respectively. The proposed catalyst and the mechanistic insights represented a step towards realization of non-noble metal-based direct seawater splitting.
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