Research Article


2019, 12(7): 1651–1657


Fe2N nanoparticles boosting FeNx moieties for highly efficient oxygen reduction reaction in Fe-N-C porous catalyst

Xiao Liu1,2, Hong Liu2,3, Chi Chen1, Liangliang Zou1, Yuan Li4, Qing Zhang4, Bo Yang3 (*), Zhiqing Zou1, and Hui Yang1 (*)

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1 Center for Energy Storage and Conversion, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201210, China
2 University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
3 School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai 201210, China
4 Evergrande Neoenergy Technology Group, Shanghai 201815, China

Keywords: non-precious metal, oxygen reduction reaction, Fe2N nanoparticle, FeNx moiety, proton exchange membrane fuel cell
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Replacing Pt-based electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) with high performance and low-cost non-precious metal catalysts is crucial for the commercialization of fuel cells. Herein, we present a highly efficient Fe-N-C porous ORR electrocatalyst with FeNx moieties promoted by Fe2N nanoparticles derived from Fe-doped zeolitic imidazolate framework. The best-performing Fe-N-C/HPC-NH3 catalyst exhibits a superior ORR activity with an onset (E0) and half-wave (E1/2) potential of 0.945 and 0.803 V (RHE), respectively, which is comparable to those of the commercial Pt/C in acidic media. Probing and acid-leaching experiments prove that FeNx moieties play an important role in the ORR and the Fe2N can further improve the ORR activity. Density functional theory calculation reveals a synergistic effect that the existence of Fe2N weakens the adsorption of ORR intermediates on active sites and lowers the reaction free energy of the potential limiting step, thus facilitating the ORR. Both experimental evidence and theoretical analysis for the enhancement of ORR activity by Fe2N decoration in Fe-N-C catalyst might inspire a new strategy for rational design of high performance non-precious metal catalysts.
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Fe2N nanoparticles boosting FeNx moieties for highly efficient oxygen reduction reaction in Fe-N-C porous catalyst. Nano Res. 2019, 12(7): 1651–1657

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