Thursday, 10 March 2016

A Class of High Performance Metal-Free Oxygen Reduction Electrocatalysts based on Cheap Carbon Blacks

For the goal of practical industrial development of fuel cells, cheap, sustainable and high performance electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) which rival those based on platinum (Pt) and other rare materials are highly desirable. In this work, we report a class of cheap and high-performance metal-free oxygen reduction electrocatalysts obtained by co-doping carbon blacks with nitrogen and fluorine (CB-NF).The CB-NF electrocatalysts are highly active and exhibit long-term operation stability and tolerance to poisons during oxygen reduction process in alkaline medium. The alkaline direct methanol fuel cell with the best CB-NF as cathode (3 mg/cm2) outperforms the one with commercial platinum-based cathode (3 mg Pt/cm2). To the best of our knowledge, these are among the most efficient non-Pt based electrocatalysts. Since carbon blacks are 10,000 times cheaper than Pt, these CB-NF electrocatalysts possess the best price/performance ratio for ORR, and are the most promising alternatives to Pt-based ones to date. 

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