Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 101–110 | Cite as

Nitrogen-doped porous carbon via ammonothermal carbonization for supercapacitors

  • Florian Schipper
  • Shiori Kubo
  • Tim-Patrick FellingerEmail author
Brief Communication: Sol-gel and hybrid materials for energy, environment and building applications


In this study we demonstrate a cheap and sustainable ammonothermal approach towards nitrogen-doped porous carbons. Sodium borate (borax) is employed as a catalyst during the synthesis resulting in the formation of small interconnected primary particles of <100 nm in size. Microporosity is created in these nitrogen-doped, ammonothermal carbon samples by a synchronous activation and post carbonization procedure at 850 °C, while the interconnected primary particles offer larger interstitial void spaces including mesopores. Variation of the starting ammonia concentration allows for the facile adjustment of the final nitrogen content, reaching up to 7 wt.% after post carbonization. Electrochemical characterization is carried out in two and three electrode modes by means of cyclic voltammetry and galvanostatic cycling at different scan rates and current densities, respectively. The sample prepared at a high glucose-to-ammonia ratio shows high specific capacitance of 185 and 144 F g−1 at 0.2 and 20 A g−1, respectively (271 F g−1 in a three electrode mode at 1 A g−1). All samples demonstrate a very stable capacitance over the tested 5000 cycles at 10 A g−1 with no degradation and an excellent coulombic efficiency of >99%. Comparison of different pore systems indicates that a continuous pore size distribution may explain improved rate performances.

A sol-gel-type ammonothermal carbonization of sugar, catalyzed by Borax was combined with physical CO2-activation to obtain well-performing and sustainable electrode materials for aqueous supercapacitors


  • Porous nitrogen-doped carbon was synthesized by ammonothermal carbonization

  • High capacitances of 185 F g−1 were obtained

  • Very high cycling stability was obtained


Ammonothermal Biomass-derived Nitrogen-doped carbon Activation Supercapacitor Cycle stability 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The reported research did not involve Human Participants and/or Animals. The submission is in consent with all co-authors and compliant with the JSST ethical standards.

Supplementary material

10971_2018_4837_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.3 mb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Schipper
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shiori Kubo
    • 3
  • Tim-Patrick Fellinger
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Colloids DepartmentMax Planck Institute of Colloids and InterfacesPotsdam-GolmGermany
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, The Lise Meitner-Minerva Center of Computational Quantum ChemistryBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  3. 3.National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)Research Institute for Chemical Process TechnologyTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryTechnical University of MunichGarchingGermany

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