Nano-Micro Letters

Flexible, Porous, and Metal–Heteroatom-Doped Carbon Nanofibers as Efficient ORR Electrocatalysts for Zn–Air Battery

Qijian Niu1,2, Binling Chen3,*, Junxia Guo1,2, Jun Nie1,2, Xindong Guo1,2, Guiping Ma1,2,*

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Nano-Micro Lett. (2019) 11: 8

First Online: 19 January 2019 (Article)


*Corresponding author. E-mail: B.Chen@exeter.ac.uk (Binling Chen) ; magp@mail.buct.edu.cn (Guiping Ma)





Developing an efficient and durable oxygen reduction electrocatalyst is critical for clean-energy technology, such as fuel cells and metal-air batteries. In this study, we developed a facile strategy for the preparation of flexible, porous, and well-dispersed metal-heteroatom-doped carbon nanofibers by direct carbonization of electrospun Zn/Co-ZIFs/PAN nanofibers (Zn/Co-ZIFs/PAN). The obtained Zn/Co and N co-doped porous carbon nanofibers carbonized at 800 °C (Zn/Co-N@PCNFs-800) presented good flexibility, a continuous porous structure, and superior oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalytic activity to that of commercial 20 wt% Pt/C, in terms of its onset potential (0.98 V vs. RHE), half-wave potential (0.89 V vs. RHE), and limiting current density (−5.26 mA cm-2). In addition, we tested the suitability and durability of Zn/Co-N@PCNFs-800 as the oxygen cathode for a rechargeable Zn-air battery. The prepared Zn-air batteries exhibited higher power density (83.5 mW cm-2), higher specific capacity (640.3 mAh g-1), excellent reversibility, and better cycling life than the commercial 20 wt% Pt/C+RuO2 catalysts. This design strategy of flexible porous non-precious metal-doped ORR electrocatalysts obtained from electrospun ZIFs/polymer nanofibers could be extended to fabricate other novel, stable, and easy-to-use multi-functional electrocatalysts for clean-energy technology.



Electrospinning; Zn/Co-ZIFs; Carbon nanofibers; Flexible porous structure; ORR; Zn–air battery

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