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Issue 7, 2016
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Shrimp-shell derived carbon nanodots as precursors to fabricate Fe,N-doped porous graphitic carbon electrocatalysts for efficient oxygen reduction in zinc–air batteries

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Abstract

In this work, shrimp-shell derived N-doped carbon nanodots (N-CNs) as carbon and nitrogen sources are assembled into particle-like aggregates by a simple polymerization reaction of pyrrole in the presence of Fe3+ to form Fe containing N-CN/polypyrrole (PPY) composites (Fe–N-CN/PPy). The resulting composites are thermally treated by a facile pyrolysis approach under a N2 atmosphere to obtain an Fe,N-doped porous graphitic carbon (Fe-N-PGC) material. The results demonstrate that the pyrolytically converted carbon material at 800 °C (Fe-N-PGC-800) exhibits an approximately mesoporous structure with a pore size distribution centered at ∼1.97 nm and ∼2.8 nm and a surface area of 806.7 m2 g−1. As an electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in alkaline media, Fe-N-PGC-800 shows superior ORR catalytic activity with an onset potential of −0.017 V and a limiting current density of 5.42 mA cm−2 (at −0.4 V, vs. Ag/AgCl), which is superior to that of commercial Pt/C catalysts (onset potential of −0.018 V and a limiting current density of 5.21 mA cm−2 at −0.4 V, vs. Ag/AgCl). Additionally, Fe-N-PGC-800 also exhibits good ORR activity in acidic media with an onset potential of 0.53 V and a limiting current density of 5.58 mA cm−2 (at 0.1 V, vs. Ag/AgCl), comparable to that of most reported Fe-based N-doped carbon electrocatalysts. An air cathode made from Fe-N-PGC-800 shows high performance and superior cycling durability in zinc–air batteries (gravimetric energy density of 752 Wh kg−1), comparable to that of commercial Pt/C-based batteries (gravimetric energy density of 774 Wh kg−1). This work demonstrates the feasibility of utilizing biomass as a starting material to fabricate Fe,N-doped carbon materials as high performance ORR electrocatalysts for practical application in ORR-relevant energy devices.

Graphical abstract: Shrimp-shell derived carbon nanodots as precursors to fabricate Fe,N-doped porous graphitic carbon electrocatalysts for efficient oxygen reduction in zinc–air batteries

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Mar 2016, accepted on 14 Apr 2016 and first published on 14 Apr 2016


Article type: Research Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6QI00059B
Citation: Inorg. Chem. Front., 2016,3, 910-918

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    Shrimp-shell derived carbon nanodots as precursors to fabricate Fe,N-doped porous graphitic carbon electrocatalysts for efficient oxygen reduction in zinc–air batteries

    X. Zhang, R. Liu, Y. Zang, G. Liu, S. Liu, G. Wang, Y. Zhang, H. Zhang and H. Zhao, Inorg. Chem. Front., 2016, 3, 910
    DOI: 10.1039/C6QI00059B

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