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Electrospun Thin-Walled CuCo2O4@C Nanotubes as Bifunctional Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Rechargeable Zn–Air Batteries

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posted on 22.11.2017, 00:00 by Xiaojun Wang, Yang Li, Ting Jin, Jing Meng, Lifang Jiao, Min Zhu, Jun Chen
Rational design of optimal bifunctional oxygen electrocatalyst with low cost and high activity is greatly desired for realization of rechargeable Zn–air batteries. Herein, we fabricate mesoporous thin-walled CuCo2O4@C with abundant nitrogen-doped nanotubes via coaxial electrospinning technique. Benefiting from high catalytic activity of ultrasmall CuCo2O4 particles, double active specific surface area of mesoporous nanotubes, and strong coupling with N-doped carbon matrix, the obtained CuCo2O4@C exhibits outstanding oxygen electrocatalytic activity and stability, in terms of a positive onset potential (0.951 V) for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and a low overpotential (327 mV at 10 mA cm–2) for oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Significantly, when used as cathode catalyst for Zn-air batteries, CuCo2O4@C also displays a low charge–discharge voltage gap (0.79 V at 10 mA cm–2) and a long cycling life (up to 160 cycles for 80 h). With desirable architecture and excellent electrocatalytic properties, the CuCo2O4@C is considered a promising electrocatalyst for Zn–air batteries.