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3D Carbon Nanoframe Scaffold-immobilized Ni3FeN Nanoparticle Eletrocatalysts for Rechargeable Zinc-Air Batteries
Update time: 2017-09-13
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Chinese researchers have developed 3D Carbon Nanoframe Scaffold-immobilized Ni3FeN Nanoparticle Eletrocatalysts for Rechargeable Zinc-Air Batteries. Results were published in the journal Nano Energy. 

Rechargeable zinc-air batteries have enormous potential for application in portable electronic devices, electric vehicles and utility-scale energy storage systems due to their low cost, environmentally friendly components and their high theoretical specific energy density of 1084 Wh kg-1. 

However, their practical deployment hinges on the development of efficient bifunctional electrocatalysts that can efficiently drive both the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER).

Thus, development of low-cost, stable and efficient bifunctional electrocatalysts for rechargeable zinc-air battery systems isimperative.

Ni3FeN/Co,N-CNF electrocatalysts for rechareable zinc-air batteries

Ni3FeN serves as an effecient OER electrocatalyst thanks to its inherent metallic character and unique electronic property. However, two key bottlenecks barrier its further deployment in rechareagebale zinc-air batteries: 1) Ni3FeN dispalys poor ORR activity. A good ORR activity is an essentail requirement of rechargeable zinc-air batteries. 2) Ni3FeN nanoparticles aggregation during heat treatment makes it challenging to yeild well-controlled Ni3FeN size distribution. A higher exposed active surface area from smaller-sized nanoparticles guarantees a faster OER kinetics.

Here, Prof. Tierui Zhang and co-workers from Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China demonstrated the first successful construction of a Ni3FeN/Co,N-CNF hybrid electrocatalyst, comprising 14 nm Ni3FeN particles immobilized on a Co,N-doped carbon nanoframe (Co,N-CNF) support. The introduction of the conductive Co,N-CNF support helps prevent Ni3FeN nanoparticles aggregation along with its intrinsic ORR activity. Thus, Ni3FeN/Co,N-CNF electrocatalyst exhibited excellent OER and ORR activities.

Also, a rechargeable zinc-air battery using NiFe-LDH/Co,N-CNF displayed superior efficiency and durability to that of commercialized Pt/C+IrO2 electrocatalysts, even operating in a high current density of 50 mA cm-2.

This work reveals a new toolbox for the design and construction of low cost electrocatalysts. The strategy developed here could be easily adapted to synthesize other mutifunctional CNF-based hybrid electrodes for HER, ORR and OER.

This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the National Key Projects for Fundamental Research and Development of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association.

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