Mg-2.7Ni-x wt.% Sn(x = 0-2) alloys were fabricated to promote hydrogen generation kinetics of Mg-2.7Ni alloy. The Sn in Mg-2.7Ni-Sn alloys exists as Mg2Sn phase at the grain boundary and solid solution at the Mg matrix. The Mg2Sn at the grain boundary acts as the initiation site for pitting corrosion and the dissolved Sn in the alloy causes pitting corrosion by locally breaking the surface oxide film in the Mg matrix in seawater. The Mg-2.7Ni-1Sn alloy showed an excellent hydrogen generation rate of 28.71 ml min(-1) g(-1), which is 1700 times faster than that of pure Mg due to the combined action of galvanic and intergranular corrosion as well as pitting corrosion in seawater. As the solution temperature was increased from 30 to 70 degrees C, the hydrogen generation rate from the hydrolysis of the Mg-2.7Ni-1Sn alloy was dramatically increased from 34 to 257.3 ml min(-1) g(-1). The activation energy for the hydrolysis of Mg was calculated to be 43.13 kJ mol(-1). (C) 2016 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.