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Electrospun carbon nanofibers loaded with spinel-type cobalt oxide as bifunctional catalysts for enhanced oxygen electrocatalysis

AuthorsAlegre, Cinthia; Busacca, Concetta; Di Blasi, Alessandra; Aricò, Antonino Salvatore; Antonucci, Vincenzo; Modica, E.; Baglio, Vincenzo
KeywordsBifunctional air electrodes
Oxygen reduction
Oxygen evolution
Issue DateJun-2019
CitationJournal of Energy Storage 23: 269-277 (2019)
AbstractThe electrocatalysis of oxygen in alkaline media is a challenging issue, influencing the performance of many electrochemical devices: fuel cells, unitized regenerative fuel cells, electrolyzers and metal-air batteries. This new manuscript proposes the synthesis of graphitic carbon nanofibers obtained by electrospinning with a cobalt-based spinel oxide, Co3O4/CNF. By means of a simple, reproducible and scalable method, a bifunctional catalyst with a promising performance is obtained, being able of carrying out the electrocatalysis of oxygen (oxidation of water, evolution and reduction of oxygen) in a basic solution. The combination of the active species on cobalt oxide (Co2+, Co3+ and Co-Nx), along with active species in the carbon nanofiber (graphitic and pyridinic N), gives rise to a catalyst with a remarkable reversibility (difference between E10 mA/cm2 (evolution) and Ehalf-wave-potential (reduction)): ΔE =795 mV), a low over-potential for the evolution of oxygen (η =416 mV) and 919 mV of oxygen reduction onset potential, very similar to that of a benchmark catalyst, Pt/C.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.est.2019.04.001
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