Bifunctional nano-sponges serving as non-precious metal catalysts and self-standing cathodes for high performance fuel cell applications

Gang Yang, Celal Erbay, Su in Yi, Paul de Figueiredo, Reza Sadr, Arum Han, Choongho Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In electrochemical cells, oxygen has been generally regarded as the ideal cathode reactant due to its non-toxicity, sustainability, and low-cost. However, the intrinsically slow oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) calls for electrocatalysts such as Pt and its alloys, and their high prices hamper the wide deployment of various electrochemical systems relying on ORR. Previously reported non-precious metal catalysts often involve complicated and lengthy synthesis processes as well as require additional catalyst loading electrodes, increasing the production complexity and cost of cathodes. Here we developed a bifunctional non-precious metal based electrocatalyst, which can also act as a self-standing sponge-like cathode, eliminating the usage of a catalyst loading/supporting layer. Our 3-dimensional (3D) catalysts/cathodes were tested in microbial fuel cells, showing outstanding catalytic activity and long term stability comparable to commercial Pt-based catalysts. Our cathodes were composed of self-assembled carbon nanotubes whose carbon is coordinated with iron and nitrogen for high ORR performance. For maximum cell performance, we found that the pore volume in the 3D cathode needs to be larger to have better oxygen diffusion but overly porous cathodes have less effective electrical conductivity, resulting in lower power generation. Our findings regarding the dependency of power generation on oxygen diffusion/reaction, effective electrical conductivity, and active surface area (or mass) provide a guidance to the future development of porous 3D electrocatalysts/cathodes. The new way of designing electrocatalysts/cathodes from conventional two-dimensional films to macroscale 3D self-assembled nanomaterials, with only ~1% cost of commercial Pt-based catalyst powders, will eliminate one of major hurdles in deploying electrochemical energy conversion systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-614
Number of pages8
JournalNano Energy
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Fingerprint

Fuel cells
Cathodes
Metals
Catalysts
Electrocatalysts
Oxygen
Power generation
Costs
Microbial fuel cells
Carbon Nanotubes
Electrochemical cells
Energy conversion
Nanostructured materials
Powders
Sustainable development
Catalyst activity
Carbon nanotubes
Nitrogen
Carbon
Iron

Keywords

  • Carbon nanotube sponge
  • Long term stability
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Non-precious metal catalyst
  • Three-dimensional cathode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Bifunctional nano-sponges serving as non-precious metal catalysts and self-standing cathodes for high performance fuel cell applications. / Yang, Gang; Erbay, Celal; Yi, Su in; de Figueiredo, Paul; Sadr, Reza; Han, Arum; Yu, Choongho.

In: Nano Energy, Vol. 22, 01.04.2016, p. 607-614.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Yang, Gang ; Erbay, Celal ; Yi, Su in ; de Figueiredo, Paul ; Sadr, Reza ; Han, Arum ; Yu, Choongho. / Bifunctional nano-sponges serving as non-precious metal catalysts and self-standing cathodes for high performance fuel cell applications. In: Nano Energy. 2016 ; Vol. 22. pp. 607-614.
@article{e8727e4e25f94dca9e70628e108b7f92,
title = "Bifunctional nano-sponges serving as non-precious metal catalysts and self-standing cathodes for high performance fuel cell applications",
abstract = "In electrochemical cells, oxygen has been generally regarded as the ideal cathode reactant due to its non-toxicity, sustainability, and low-cost. However, the intrinsically slow oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) calls for electrocatalysts such as Pt and its alloys, and their high prices hamper the wide deployment of various electrochemical systems relying on ORR. Previously reported non-precious metal catalysts often involve complicated and lengthy synthesis processes as well as require additional catalyst loading electrodes, increasing the production complexity and cost of cathodes. Here we developed a bifunctional non-precious metal based electrocatalyst, which can also act as a self-standing sponge-like cathode, eliminating the usage of a catalyst loading/supporting layer. Our 3-dimensional (3D) catalysts/cathodes were tested in microbial fuel cells, showing outstanding catalytic activity and long term stability comparable to commercial Pt-based catalysts. Our cathodes were composed of self-assembled carbon nanotubes whose carbon is coordinated with iron and nitrogen for high ORR performance. For maximum cell performance, we found that the pore volume in the 3D cathode needs to be larger to have better oxygen diffusion but overly porous cathodes have less effective electrical conductivity, resulting in lower power generation. Our findings regarding the dependency of power generation on oxygen diffusion/reaction, effective electrical conductivity, and active surface area (or mass) provide a guidance to the future development of porous 3D electrocatalysts/cathodes. The new way of designing electrocatalysts/cathodes from conventional two-dimensional films to macroscale 3D self-assembled nanomaterials, with only ~1{\%} cost of commercial Pt-based catalyst powders, will eliminate one of major hurdles in deploying electrochemical energy conversion systems.",
keywords = "Carbon nanotube sponge, Long term stability, Microbial fuel cell, Non-precious metal catalyst, Three-dimensional cathode",
author = "Gang Yang and Celal Erbay and Yi, {Su in} and {de Figueiredo}, Paul and Reza Sadr and Arum Han and Choongho Yu",
year = "2016",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.02.055",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "607--614",
journal = "Nano Energy",
issn = "2211-2855",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Bifunctional nano-sponges serving as non-precious metal catalysts and self-standing cathodes for high performance fuel cell applications

AU - Yang, Gang

AU - Erbay, Celal

AU - Yi, Su in

AU - de Figueiredo, Paul

AU - Sadr, Reza

AU - Han, Arum

AU - Yu, Choongho

PY - 2016/4/1

Y1 - 2016/4/1

N2 - In electrochemical cells, oxygen has been generally regarded as the ideal cathode reactant due to its non-toxicity, sustainability, and low-cost. However, the intrinsically slow oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) calls for electrocatalysts such as Pt and its alloys, and their high prices hamper the wide deployment of various electrochemical systems relying on ORR. Previously reported non-precious metal catalysts often involve complicated and lengthy synthesis processes as well as require additional catalyst loading electrodes, increasing the production complexity and cost of cathodes. Here we developed a bifunctional non-precious metal based electrocatalyst, which can also act as a self-standing sponge-like cathode, eliminating the usage of a catalyst loading/supporting layer. Our 3-dimensional (3D) catalysts/cathodes were tested in microbial fuel cells, showing outstanding catalytic activity and long term stability comparable to commercial Pt-based catalysts. Our cathodes were composed of self-assembled carbon nanotubes whose carbon is coordinated with iron and nitrogen for high ORR performance. For maximum cell performance, we found that the pore volume in the 3D cathode needs to be larger to have better oxygen diffusion but overly porous cathodes have less effective electrical conductivity, resulting in lower power generation. Our findings regarding the dependency of power generation on oxygen diffusion/reaction, effective electrical conductivity, and active surface area (or mass) provide a guidance to the future development of porous 3D electrocatalysts/cathodes. The new way of designing electrocatalysts/cathodes from conventional two-dimensional films to macroscale 3D self-assembled nanomaterials, with only ~1% cost of commercial Pt-based catalyst powders, will eliminate one of major hurdles in deploying electrochemical energy conversion systems.

AB - In electrochemical cells, oxygen has been generally regarded as the ideal cathode reactant due to its non-toxicity, sustainability, and low-cost. However, the intrinsically slow oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) calls for electrocatalysts such as Pt and its alloys, and their high prices hamper the wide deployment of various electrochemical systems relying on ORR. Previously reported non-precious metal catalysts often involve complicated and lengthy synthesis processes as well as require additional catalyst loading electrodes, increasing the production complexity and cost of cathodes. Here we developed a bifunctional non-precious metal based electrocatalyst, which can also act as a self-standing sponge-like cathode, eliminating the usage of a catalyst loading/supporting layer. Our 3-dimensional (3D) catalysts/cathodes were tested in microbial fuel cells, showing outstanding catalytic activity and long term stability comparable to commercial Pt-based catalysts. Our cathodes were composed of self-assembled carbon nanotubes whose carbon is coordinated with iron and nitrogen for high ORR performance. For maximum cell performance, we found that the pore volume in the 3D cathode needs to be larger to have better oxygen diffusion but overly porous cathodes have less effective electrical conductivity, resulting in lower power generation. Our findings regarding the dependency of power generation on oxygen diffusion/reaction, effective electrical conductivity, and active surface area (or mass) provide a guidance to the future development of porous 3D electrocatalysts/cathodes. The new way of designing electrocatalysts/cathodes from conventional two-dimensional films to macroscale 3D self-assembled nanomaterials, with only ~1% cost of commercial Pt-based catalyst powders, will eliminate one of major hurdles in deploying electrochemical energy conversion systems.

KW - Carbon nanotube sponge

KW - Long term stability

KW - Microbial fuel cell

KW - Non-precious metal catalyst

KW - Three-dimensional cathode

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84960324405&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84960324405&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.02.055

DO - 10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.02.055

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84960324405

VL - 22

SP - 607

EP - 614

JO - Nano Energy

JF - Nano Energy

SN - 2211-2855

ER -