So far, the development of highly active and stable carbon-based electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) to replace commercial Pt/C catalyst is a hot topic. In this study, a new nanoporous nitrogen-doped carbon material was facilely designed by two-step pyrolysis of the renewable Lemna minor enriched in crude protein under a nitrogen atmosphere. Electrochemical measurements show that the onset potential for ORR on this carbon material is around 0.93 V (versus reversible hydrogen electrode), slightly lower than that on the Pt/C catalyst, but its cycling stability is higher compared to the Pt/C catalyst in an alkaline medium. Besides, the ORR at this catalyst approaches to a four-electron transfer pathway. The obtained ORR performance can be basically attributed to the formation of high contents of pyridinic and graphitic nitrogen atoms inside this catalyst. Thus, this work opens up the path in the ORR catalysis for the design of nitrogen-doped carbon materials utilizing aquatic plants as starting precursors.
Guo, C., Li, Z., Niu, L., Liao, W., Sun, L., Wen, B., … Chen, C. (2016). A Nanopore-Structured Nitrogen-Doped Biocarbon Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction from Two-Step Carbonization of Lemna minor Biomass. Nanoscale Research Letters, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s11671-016-1489-3