Sulfur and Nitrogen Co-Doping for Water Electrolysis

  • Author: Pamela Alsabeh
  • Published Date: 24 June 2016
  • Source / Publisher: Chemistry – A European Journal/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Sulfur and Nitrogen Co-Doping for Water Electrolysis

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Fuel cells coupled with water electrolysis to generate electricity have potential to solve current sustainable energy challenges. Metal-free heteroatom-based carbon nanotube electrocatalysts have shown promising activity for water electrolysis.

Qiang Wu, Zheng Hu, and colleagues, Nanjing University, China, have developed sulfur and nitrogen co-doped carbon tubes (SNCT) as electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction (ORR) and hydrogen evolution reactions (HER) in acidic media. They annealed carbonaceous tubes with cysteine at high temperatures (700–1000 °C), and obtained SNCT samples. They evaluated the material's properties using transmission electron microscopy (TEM, pictured) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

The catalyst exhibited a record high onset potential of 851 mV (vs. reversible hydrogen electrode) for ORR. High HER activity was also observed with a low overpotential of 76 mV and good stability. According to the team, these results demonstrate the potential of carbon-based metal-free electrocatalysts for the production of clean energy.


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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH