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Nitrogen and cobalt-doped porous biocarbon materials derived from corn stover as efficient electrocatalysts for aluminum-air batteries

Liu, Zhenning, Li, Zhiyuan, Ma, Jian, Dong, Xu, Ku, Wen, Wang, Mi, Sun, Hang, Liang, Song, Lu, Guolong
Energy 2018 v.162 pp. 453-459
batteries, catalysts, cobalt, corn stover, durability, electrochemistry, nanoparticles, nitrogen, oxygen, surface area
Development of convenient, economic and large scale catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in alkaline medium is of great significance to practical applications of aluminum-air batteries. Herein, a corn-stover-derived, nitrogen and cobalt co-doped porous biocarbon material has been prepared and utilized as ORR catalysts in aluminum-air batteries. The resultant product (NCAC-Co) exhibits an interconnected hierarchical porous structure with a high specific surface area (1877.3 m2 g−1). The electrocatalytic characterization of NCAC-Co reveals a half-wave potential (0.743 V vs. RHE) only slightly lower than that of commercial Pt/C (0.793 V vs. RHE) in alkaline medium. Moreover, NCAC-Co also demonstrates the mechanism of 4-electron oxygen reduction (n = 3.87) and outstanding durability. The excellent ORR performance of NCAC-Co can be attributed to the presence of pyridinic N, graphitic N and Co nanoparticles as well as the interconnected hierarchical porous structure. More importantly, NCAC-Co also delivers a good behavior when applied in aluminum-air batteries. The work presented herein shows the NCAC-Co derived from corn stover holds good promise to be an alternative of economic and large scale catalysts for metal-air batteries.