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Front. Chem. | doi: 10.3389/fchem.2019.00766

Nitrogen-doped Ketjenblack Carbon Supported Co3O4 Nanoparticles as a Synergistic Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction Reaction

Gao Cheng1, Guanliang Liu1, Peng Liu1, Liya Chen1, Shengbo Han1, Jiaxi Han1,  Fei Ye1, Wei Song1, Bang Lan2, Ming Sun1 and  Lin Yu1*
  • 1Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering and Light Industry, Guangdong University of Technology, China
  • 2School of Chemistry and Environment, Jiaying University, China

Developing highly active and cost-effective cathode electrocatalyst with strong stability for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is extremely necessary. In this work, we reported a facile synthetic path to prepare a hybrid nanostructure formed of nitrogen-doped Ketjenblack carbon (N-KC) supported Co3O4 nanoparticles (Co3O4/N-KC), which could be used as a promising and stable electrocatalyst for ORR. Compared with the physical mixture of Co3O4 and N-KC and pure N-KC samples, the resulting Co3O4/N-KC nanohybrid afforded remarkably superb ORR activity with a half-wave potential of 0.82 V (versus reversible hydrogen electrode, RHE) and a limiting current density of 5.70 mA cm-2 in KOH solution (0.1 M). Surprisingly, the Co3O4/N-KC sample possessed a similar electrocatalytic activity but better durability to the 20 wt% Pt/C catalyst. The remarkable ORR activity of Co3O4/N-KC nanohybrid was mainly due to the strong coupling effect between Co3O4 and N-KC, N species dopant, high electroconductivity and large BET surface area. Our work enlightens the exploitation of advanced Co3O4/carbon hybrid material alternative to the Pt-based electrocatalysts.

Keywords: Co3O4, Ketjenblack carbon, Nitrogen dopant, Electronic coupling effect, electrocatalyst, Oxygen Reduction Reaction, Zinc-air batteries

Received: 01 Oct 2019; Accepted: 24 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Cheng, Liu, Liu, Chen, Han, Han, Ye, Song, Lan, Sun and Yu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Lin Yu, Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering and Light Industry, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou, China, gych@gdut.edu.cn