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Issue 45, 2017
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Biomass derived 2D carbons via a hydrothermal carbonization method as efficient bifunctional ORR/HER electrocatalysts

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Abstract

Biomass derived carbons via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) are critically important for different applications due to their low cost, eco-friendly properties, light weight and potential for the catalysis research field. However, standard HTC carbons commonly present amorphous and spherical morphology with low surface areas and large particle size. Here we report a 2D morphology of crystalline carbons via a HTC method by employing the biomolecule guanine and diverse carbohydrates (glucose, fructose and cellulose) as carbon precursors. Importantly, the addition of guanine to the HTC process plays a significant role in producing the 2D-morphology of carbon materials from the diverse carbohydrates. Hierarchical porous nitrogen-doped carbons with high surface areas up to 974 m2 g−1 and nitrogen contents as high as 2.39 at% are made by further high temperature carbonization. The current 2D carbons are found to be highly active toward the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) with a rather positive half-wave potential of 0.87 V (vs. the RHE) and a large limiting current density of 5.9 mA cm−2. These catalysts outperform most other equivalent benchmarks as well as Pt-based electrocatalysts, meanwhile being efficient for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) with a very low overpotential of 0.35 V to achieve 10 mA cm−2 in alkaline medium. It is expected that our synthetic protocol can be extended to various bio-nucleobases, yielding all-sustainable bio-based electrocatalysts with a tunable structure, elemental composition, porosity and electronic properties.

Graphical abstract: Biomass derived 2D carbons via a hydrothermal carbonization method as efficient bifunctional ORR/HER electrocatalysts

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Sep 2017, accepted on 01 Oct 2017 and first published on 03 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA08052B
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017,5, 23481-23488
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    Biomass derived 2D carbons via a hydrothermal carbonization method as efficient bifunctional ORR/HER electrocatalysts

    B. Huang, Y. Liu and Z. Xie, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 23481
    DOI: 10.1039/C7TA08052B

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