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Issue 3, 2013
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Mesoporous nitrogen-rich carbons derived from protein for ultra-high capacity battery anodes and supercapacitors

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Abstract

In this work we demonstrate that biomass-derived proteins serve as an ideal precursor for synthesizing carbon materials for energy applications. The unique composition and structure of the carbons resulted in very promising electrochemical energy storage performance. We obtained a reversible lithium storage capacity of 1780 mA h g−1, which is among the highest ever reported for any carbon-based electrode. Tested as a supercapacitor, the carbons exhibited a capacitance of 390 F g−1, with an excellent cycle life (7% loss after 10 000 cycles). Such exquisite properties may be attributed to a unique combination of a high specific surface area, partial graphitization and very high bulk nitrogen content. It is a major challenge to derive carbons possessing all three attributes. By templating the structure of mesoporous cellular foam with egg white-derived proteins, we were able to obtain hierarchically mesoporous (pores centered at ∼4 nm and at 20–30 nm) partially graphitized carbons with a surface area of 805.7 m2 g−1 and a bulk N-content of 10.1 wt%. When the best performing sample was heated in Ar to eliminate most of the nitrogen, the Li storage capacity and the specific capacitance dropped to 716 mA h g−1 and 80 F g−1, respectively.

Graphical abstract: Mesoporous nitrogen-rich carbons derived from protein for ultra-high capacity battery anodes and supercapacitors

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Sep 2012, accepted on 02 Jan 2013 and first published on 03 Jan 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE23599D
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 871-878
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    Mesoporous nitrogen-rich carbons derived from protein for ultra-high capacity battery anodes and supercapacitors

    Z. Li, Z. Xu, X. Tan, H. Wang, C. M. B. Holt, T. Stephenson, B. C. Olsen and D. Mitlin, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 871
    DOI: 10.1039/C2EE23599D

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