Bio-inspired carbon electro-catalysis for the oxygen reduction reaction

Preuss, Kathrin, Kannuchamy, Vasanth Kumar, Marinovic, Adam, Isaacs, Mark, Wilson, Karen, Abrahams, Isaac and Titirici, Maria-Magdalena (2016). Bio-inspired carbon electro-catalysis for the oxygen reduction reaction. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, In pre ,


We report the synthesis, characterisation and catalytic performance of two nature-inspired biomass-derived electro-catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells. The catalysts were prepared via pyrolysis of a real food waste (lobster shells) or by mimicking the composition of lobster shells using chitin and CaCO3 particles followed by acid washing. The simplified model of artificial lobster was prepared for better reproducibility. The calcium carbonate in both samples acts as a pore agent, creating increased surface area and pore volume, though considerably higher in artificial lobster samples due to the better homogeneity of the components. Various characterisation techniques revealed the presence of a considerable amount of hydroxyapatite left in the real lobster samples after acid washing and a low content of carbon (23%), nitrogen and sulphur (<1%), limiting the surface area to 23 m2/g, and consequently resulting in rather poor catalytic activity. However, artificial lobster samples, with a surface area of ≈200 m2/g and a nitrogen doping of 2%, showed a promising onset potential, very similar to a commercially available platinum catalyst, with better methanol tolerance, though with lower stability in long time testing over 10,000 s.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
Engineering & Applied Sciences > European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI)
Additional Information: © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Funding: EU for the Intra European Marie Curie Research Fellowship (PIEF-GA-2013-623227)
Uncontrolled Keywords: carbonisation,biomass-derived carbons,oxygen reduction reaction,fuel cells,electro-catalysis
Published Online Date: 2016-01-13
Authors: Preuss, Kathrin
Kannuchamy, Vasanth Kumar
Marinovic, Adam
Isaacs, Mark
Wilson, Karen ( 0000-0003-4873-708X)
Abrahams, Isaac
Titirici, Maria-Magdalena

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