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N-Doped carbon supported Co₃O₄ nanoparticles as an advanced electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction in Al–air batteries

Liu, Kun, Zhou, Zhi, Wang, Haiyan, Huang, Xiaobing, Xu, Jingyan, Tang, Yougen, Li, Jingsha, Chu, Hailiang, Chen, Jiajie
RSC advances 2016 v.6 no.60 pp. 55552-55559
air, batteries, carbon, catalysts, cobalt, cobalt oxide, commercialization, electric potential difference, electrochemistry, electrodes, electron transfer, nanoparticles, synergism
Low-cost and high-performance catalysts are highly desirable for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in metal–air batteries. Herein, a Co₃O₄/N-doped Ketjenblack (Co₃O₄/N-KB) composite is proposed as a high performance catalyst for Al–air batteries. The synergistic effect between Co₃O₄ and N-KB enables the Co₃O₄/N-KB composite to have a much higher cathodic current, a much more positive half-wave potential and more electron transfer in comparison with Co₃O₄ or N-KB alone. The Co₃O₄/N-KB composite favors a direct four electron pathway in the ORR process, and its ORR current density even outperforms the commercial Pt/C (20 wt%). Al–air batteries using the as-prepared catalyst in the air electrode were constructed, which displayed a high discharge voltage plateau of ∼1.52 V, comparable to that of the commercial Pt/C. The developed Co₃O₄/N-KB composite here could meet the requirements of large-scale application of metal–air batteries due to the much cheaper cobalt source and more economically commercialized carbon source compared to the commercial Pt/C.