Porous Fe, Co, and N-co-doped carbon nanofibers as high-efficiency oxygen reduction catalysts

  • Ke Yu
  • Peng-Hui Shi
  • Jin-Chen FanEmail author
  • Yu-Lin Min
  • Qun-Jie XuEmail author
Research Paper


Oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is an important reaction in fuel cells. Designing electrocatalysts with outstanding performance is always the key to renewable-energy technologies for fuel cells. Herein, we demonstrate the Fe, Co, and N co-doped porous carbon nanofibers (FeCo/N-C CNFs) as a novel high-performance electrocatalyst for ORR. The synthesis method of this electrocatalysts material is very simple via high-temperature calcination pyrolysis of zinc, cobalt bimetallic zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF)-coated electrospun polyacrylonitrile fibers. In alkaline media, the FeCo/N-C CNFs shows a Pt-like ORR performance. The FeCo/N-C CNFs catalysts exhibit excellent performance with an onset potential of 0.99 V and a half-wave potential of 0.83 V in 0.1 M KOH solution, which is similar to those of 20 wt% Pt/C catalysts. Meanwhile, regarding long-term durability and methanol tolerance, the as-synthesized FeCo/N-C CNF catalysts also outperform commercial Pt/C. The unusual catalytic activity mainly from the improvement of electron transfer channels and catalytic sites arise from Fe, Co, and N doping in the porous structure carbon nanofibers.

Graphical abstract

The preparation process of FeCo/N-C CNFs ORR catalysts


Electrospinning Nanostructures Oxygen reduction reaction Zeolitic imidazolate framework Electrocatalysts 



We thank Mr. Jing-Ze Zhang for his contribution to the characterization of samples and analysis of results.

Funding information

This work was sponsored by Shanghai Rising-Star Program (19QA1404100). This research was also supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 21671133 and 91745112). This work was funded by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (nos. 15ZZ088 and 15SG49), the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (18020500800).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2019_4678_MOESM1_ESM.docx (403 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 402 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Materials Protection and Advanced Materials in Electric Power, College of Environmental and Chemical EngineeringShanghai University of Electric PowerShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering and Biointerfaces InstituteUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological SecurityShanghaiP.R. China

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