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One-step synthesis of 3D-interconnected porous carbons derived from ephedra herb using calcium chloride and urea as co-activation for high-performance supercapacitors

  • Jingjiang LiuEmail author
  • Ruixue Kang
  • Zhiwei Yan
  • Jianglin Guan
  • Zhengjun QuanEmail author
Original Paper


In this article, we propose a one-step strategy, utilizing calcium chloride and urea as co-activation, to synthesize 3D-interconnected porous carbon (3D-IPC) from ephedra herb. The 3D-IPC-based electrode displays excellent electrochemical performance for supercapacitors, such as a high specific capacitance of 240 F g−1 at 0.5 A g−1 and good rate capability. Especially, the symmetric supercapacitor assembled based on the 3D-IPC electrode material presents considerable energy density of 12.6 W h kg−1 at a power density 225 W kg−1, and 6.0 W h kg−1 at 9000 W kg−1 in 0.5 M Li2SO4 electrolyte. On the one hand, the urea was utilized as both activating agent for microporous pore formation in pyrolysis and nitrogen source to nitrogen doped into the 3D-IPC framework, as well as ideal synchronous carbonization and graphitization. On the other hand, ephedra herb collected from the Gobi Desert is reused as a high-value carbon material.

Graphical abstract

3D-interconnected porous carbons, obtaining from a one-step calcium chloride and urea as co-activation activation of ephedra herb, exhibit high capacitance, excellent rate and cycle performance for supercapacitors


Supercapacitors Carbon materials CaCl2 and urea activation Ephedra herb 



We thank Professor Erxin Ren for measurements.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21562036), the Scientific Research Project of Institutions of Higher Learning in Gansu Province (No. 2018B-112), and the Fundamental Research Funds of Gansu Police Vocational College (No. 2017GJYXM09)

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

There authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11581_2019_2962_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1154 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gansu Police Vocational CollegeLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Gansu International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Base of Water-Retention Chemical Functional Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringNorthwest Normal UniversityLanzhouChina

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