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Issue 9, 2020
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Promoted oxygen reduction kinetics on nitrogen-doped hierarchically porous carbon by engineering proton-feeding centers

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Abstract

Electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is the vital process for next-generation electrochemical energy storage and conversion technologies, e.g., metal–air batteries and fuel cells. During the ORR, the O2* and O* intermediates principally combine with protons to form OOH* and OH* species, respectively, which are the proton-coupled electron transfer processes. Unfortunately, under alkaline conditions, the protons are essentially generated from the sluggish water dissociation process, which unavoidably limits the ORR kinetics. Herein, we design and synthesize a nitrogen-doped hierarchically porous carbon with homogeneously distributed ultrafine α-MoC nanoparticles (α-MoC/NHPC) as a model electrocatalyst. Theoretical investigations unveil that α-MoC on NHPC could efficiently reduce the energy barrier of the water dissociation process to generate protons, eventually promoting the proton-coupled ORR kinetics. In a 0.1 M KOH aqueous solution, α-MoC/NHPC exhibits excellent ORR performance with a high half-wave potential of 0.88 V (VS. reversible hydrogen electrode), which outperforms those for NHPC and commercial Pt/C. Moreover, as the air electrode in a zinc-air battery, α-MoC/NHPC presents a large peak power density of 200.3 mW cm−2 and long-term stability. Thereby, our approach to engineering proton-feeding centers paves a new avenue towards the understanding of ORR kinetics and the development of high-performance ORR electrocatalysts.

Graphical abstract: Promoted oxygen reduction kinetics on nitrogen-doped hierarchically porous carbon by engineering proton-feeding centers

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
20 May 2020
Accepted
13 Jul 2020
First published
13 Jul 2020

This article is Open Access

Energy Environ. Sci., 2020,13, 2849-2855
Article type
Communication

Promoted oxygen reduction kinetics on nitrogen-doped hierarchically porous carbon by engineering proton-feeding centers

G. Chen, T. Wang, P. Liu, Z. Liao, H. Zhong, G. Wang, P. Zhang, M. Yu, E. Zschech, M. Chen, J. Zhang and X. Feng, Energy Environ. Sci., 2020, 13, 2849
DOI: 10.1039/D0EE01613F

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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