Promoting Oxygen Reduction Reaction Activity of Fe-N/C Electrocatalysts by Silica-Coating-Mediated Synthesis for Anion-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
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- Promoting Oxygen Reduction Reaction Activity of Fe-N/C Electrocatalysts by Silica-Coating-Mediated Synthesis for Anion-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
- Woo, Jinwoo; Yang, Seung Yong; Sa, Young Jin; Choi, Won-Young; Lee, Myeong-Hwa; Lee, Hyun-Wook; Shin, Tae Joo; Kim, Tae-Young; Joo, Sang Hoon
- Issue Date
- AMER CHEMICAL SOC
- CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, v.30, no.19, pp.6684 - 6701
- Iron and nitrogen codoped carbon (Fe−N/C) catalysts have emerged as promising alternatives to Pt-based catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) owing to their prominent ORR activity among nonprecious metal catalysts (NPMCs). This high ORR activity originates from atomically dispersed Fe coordinated with nitrogen atoms (Fe−Nx site). However, the rational design of Fe−N/C catalysts with abundant Fe−Nx active sites remains a challenge. In this work, we demonstrate that a silica coating-mediated synthetic strategy enables the preparation of Fe−N/C catalysts enriched with active Fe−Nx sites while mitigating the formation of less active Fe and Fe3C species. The silica coating-mediated strategy was generally applicable to various types of Fe and N precursors, including iron porphyrin, iron acetate/1,10-phenanthroline, and iron chloride/polyaniline. This strategy was also effective in the preparation of Fe−N/C catalysts with various carbon supports and a wide range of Fe contents and pyrolysis temperatures. The strategy could be further extended to S or P doped Fe−N/C catalysts, in which the formation of inactive FeS and Fe2P species was suppressed. As a result, Fe–N/C catalysts prepared with the silica coating exhibited improved ORR activity up to a factor of 11 compared to silica-uncoated counterparts. Significantly, the S-doped Fe−N/C catalyst exhibited very high ORR activity with half-wave potential at 0.91 V (vs. RHE) in alkaline media. In anion exchange membrane fuel cell (AEMFC) tests, the S-doped Fe−N/C-based cathode showed a current density of 977 mA cm−2 at 0.6 V, which is the highest performance among those of reported NPMC-based cathodes. The S-doped Fe−N/C-based cathode also demonstrated promising volumetric current density in an acidic proton exchange membrane fuel cell. Thus, the silica coating-mediated strategy is generally effective in preparing singly dispersed catalytic entities and may be applicable to other catalytic reactions whereby monoatomic catalysts exhibit high catalytic activities.
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