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Issue 28, 2019
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Salt-induced silk gel-derived N and trace Fe co-doped 3D porous carbon as an oxygen reduction catalyst in microbial fuel cells

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Abstract

Inexpensive and high-efficiency oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts play a significant role in achieving practical applications of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Hence, herein, novel nitrogen (N) and trace iron (Fe) co-doped three-dimensional (3D) porous carbon (NFex-C) was synthesized as an excellent ORR catalyst from an interesting salt-induced silk gel, which was beneficial to the spontaneously formation of porosity and boosted the ORR activity. Among the series of NFex-C, NFe0.5-C (1.20% N-ORR/C, 0.07 at% Fe) possessed a higher specific surface area (538.94 m2 g−1) and pore volume (2.158 cm3 g−1). Note that NFe0.5-C exhibited a significantly higher positive initial potential (0.274 V vs. Ag/AgCl) and half-wave potential (0.095 V vs. Ag/AgCl) than other catalysts and commercial Pt/C (20 wt%); this implied that it possessed prominent ORR catalytic activity. In the MFC tests, the output-voltage and maximum power density of NFe0.5-C were enhanced to 517.37 ± 7.87 mV and 605.35 ± 15.39 mW m−2, respectively. Moreover, NFe0.5-C (0.15 $ g−1) exhibits excellent anti-poisoning ability and is thousands of times cheaper than commercial Pt/C (20 wt%, 220.04 $ g−1); therefore, NFe0.5-C should be a prospective catalyst to substitute precious commercial Pt/C in MFCs and even for application in other types of fuel cells.

Graphical abstract: Salt-induced silk gel-derived N and trace Fe co-doped 3D porous carbon as an oxygen reduction catalyst in microbial fuel cells

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
03 May 2019
Accepted
20 Jun 2019
First published
22 Jun 2019

Nanoscale, 2019,11, 13431-13439
Article type
Paper

Salt-induced silk gel-derived N and trace Fe co-doped 3D porous carbon as an oxygen reduction catalyst in microbial fuel cells

J. Liu, L. Wei, C. Cao, F. Zhang, F. Lang, H. Wang, H. Yang and J. Shen, Nanoscale, 2019, 11, 13431
DOI: 10.1039/C9NR03778K

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