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Transforming C60 Molecules into Polyhedral Carbon Micro–Nano Shells for Electrochemically Producing H2O2 in Neutral Electrolytes

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journal contribution
posted on 22.07.2021, 16:37 by Rongtao Hu, Yaqi Cui, Bing Huang, Lunhui Guan
The electrochemical production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) via the two-electron oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) can realize the customer-oriented onsite synthesis of H2O2 in a green and sustainable method. The ongoing challenge that needs to be solved is the fabrication of robust electrocatalysts of excellent performance. In this work, C60 was selected as a precursor due to its uniform structure and abundant pentagon rings. Thanks to the strong interaction between C60 and thiophene, after heteromolecule assembly in the liquid reaction and subsequent reconstruction of the carbon topological structure in solid calcination, C60 was successfully transformed into polyhedral carbon micro–nano shells (PCMNS) with an effective pore structure for the first time, which exhibited excellent capacity for production of H2O2 via two-electron ORR, especially in neutral media. In addition to the high onset potential (0.49 V vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE)) and low Tafel slope (72 mV dec–1), its selectivity reached >90% within the potential range of 0.30–0.45 V and maintained >80% after constant potential electrolysis for 10 h. The yield rate of H2O2 was 1102.5 mmol gcat–1 h–1, determined by an H-type electrolytic cell, which was one of the highest values of metal-free carbon-based ORR electrocatalysts ever reported. Such excellent two-electron ORR performance of PCMNS was attributed to its abundant accessible active sites and hierarchical pore structures.