Non-metal Catalysts for Dioxygen Reduction in an Acidic Electrolyte
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Active non-metal catalysts for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR) were prepared by decomposition of acetonitrile vapor at 900°C over a pure alumina support, and supports containing 2 wt% Fe or 2 wt% Ni on alumina. The exposed alumina and metal in the samples were subsequently washed away with HF acid to purify the solid carbon material. The sample prepared with iron was the most active sample for the ORR, with only 100 mV greater overpotential than a commercial 20 wt% Pt / Vulcan Carbon catalyst. However, nitrogen-containing carbon deposited on pure alumina (which contained less than 1 ppm metal contamination) was also quite active, demonstrating that platinum or iron is not required for ORR activity. Characterization by XPS and TEM revealed that the more active samples had nanostructured carbon with more edge plane exposure than the less active tube structures formed from the nickel sample.
KeywordsPEM fuel cells oxygen reduction nitrogen-containing carbon carbon nanostructure
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