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Cobalt-Based Multicomponent Oxygen Reduction Reaction Electrocatalysts Generated by Melamine Thermal Pyrolysis with High Performance in an Alkaline Hydrogen/Oxygen Microfuel Cell

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journal contribution
posted on 29.04.2020, 20:03 by Haihong Zhong, Luis Alberto Estudillo-Wong, Yuan Gao, Yongjun Feng, Nicolas Alonso-Vante
A series of cobalt-based multicomponent electrocatalysts (Co-Cat-T) for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) were synthesized by thermal pyrolysis of activated carbon-supported cobalt and melamine mixture from 500 to 800 °C. Their corresponding electrocatalytic performance was systematically investigated toward ORR in an alkaline electrolyte. The electrocatalyst chemical composition and structure evolution (e.g., microstrain, crystallite size, and cell volume) were confirmed by X-ray diffraction Rietveld analyses. The material generated at 550 °C (Co-Cat-T550) showed the largest cell volume of the C3N4 phase with a crystallite size of 4.1 ± 0.1 nm. Independent of the heat-treatment temperature, the cobalt atom was coordinated to nitrogen moieties. The following findings: cobalt inserted in the carbon nitride framework (Co-g-C3N4), abundant Co-Nx and pyridinic-N species, unique encapsulated cross-tubular structure, and disordered carbon domains performed better in the ORR with Co-Cat-T550 among the obtained electrocatalysts. In addition, Co-Cat-T550 showed performance comparable to Pt/C in an alkaline hydrogen/oxygen microfuel cell platform.