Poly-active centric Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C composites as superior oxygen reduction catalysts for Zn-air batteries

多活性中心Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C复合材料作为锌 空气电池的优良氧还原催化剂


Zinc-air battery is one of the most promising next-generation energy conversion and storage systems. Green and low-cost catalysts with high oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalytic activity are desired to meet the requirements of Zinc-air batteries. Herein, poly-active centric Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C (ketjenblack carbon) catalysts were prepared by a facile method. The Co3O4 and CeO2 nanoparticles are uniformly anchored on the surface of Co and N doped carbon support. The half-wave potential of Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C in the rotating disk electrode testing is close to that of Pt/C. The Zn-air battery using Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C as the cathode catalyst can provide a high specific capacity of 728 mA h g−1 at 20 mA cm−2 and maintain a stable discharge voltage. The remarkable catalytic performance is mainly attributed to the synergistic effect among Co3O4, CeO2 and Co-N-C, the outstanding electrical conductivity and the large surface area. Benefitting from the high catalytic activity, environmental friendliness and the facile synthesis process, Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C catalyst lends itself well to a great prospect in the application of metal-air batteries.


为了满足新一代金属空气电池对绿色、 低成本且具有高氧还原催化活性催化剂的迫切需求, 本文通过简便方法制备了具有 多活性中心的Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C(科琴黑)氧还原催化剂. 其中, Co3O4和CeO2纳米颗粒均匀地固定在Co、 N共掺杂的碳载体表面. Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C在旋转圆盘电极测试中的半波电位与Pt/C接近. 以Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C作为阴极催化剂的锌空气电池可以在 20 mA cm−2下提供728 mA h g−1的高比容量并能够维持稳定的放电电压. 其优异的催化性能主要归功于Co3O4、 CeO2和Co-N-C之间的协同作用、高导电性和大比表面积. Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C催化剂具有催化活性高、 环境友好、 合成工艺简单等优点, 在金属空气电池中具有广阔的应用前景.


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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, China (2019A050510043) and Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission (JCYJ20180507183818040).

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Author contributions Li G and Mu Y synthesized the material, did the SEM test, collected the electrochemical data and wrote the manuscript. Chen Y and Liu G did the XRD and XPS tests. Huang Z and Wang N analyzed the experimental data. Liu J conducted the TGA and electrochemical tests. Li OL and Shao M analyzed the experimental data and modified the manuscript. Shi Z conceived and supervised the experiments, and modified the manuscript. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Oi Lun Li 李霭伦 or Minhua Shao 邵敏华 or Zhicong Shi 施志聪.

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Conflict of interest The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Guanzhou Li is currently a master candidate at Guangdong University of Technology. He received his BSc degree (majored in metallic materials engineering) from the same university in 2018. His MSc research focuses on oxygen reduction catalysts and zinc-ion batteries.

Yangchang Mu obtained his master degree in materials science and engineering from Guangdong University of Technology in 2019. His main interests focus on multifunctional electrocatalyst nanomaterials and devices and in particular on the fields of non-noble metal electrocatalyst materials for metal-air batteries and fuel cells.

Oi Lun (Helena) Li completed her PhD in 2010 at McMaster University, concentrating on plasma chemistry and process. She has focused on the syntheses and modification of carbon nanomaterials and applied carbon catalysts for renewable energy conversion system. Her major research interests include metal/heteroatom-doped carbon catalysts for metal-air batteries and fuel cells, as well as functional carbon nanomaterials for biomass conversion.

Minhua Shao earned his PhD degree in materials science and engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (2006). He is now a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Associate Director of Energy Institute of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research mainly focuses on electrocatalysis, fuel cells, and advanced batteries.

Zhicong Shi earned his PhD degree in physical chemistry from Xiamen University, China (2005). He is now a professor in the Department of New Energy Materials and Devices, Guangdong University of Technology, and Director of Guangdong Provincial Engineering Technology Centre on New Energy Materials and Devices. His research mainly focuses on new electrode materials, electrocatalysts and solid electrolytes for advanced batteries.

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Li, G., Mu, Y., Huang, Z. et al. Poly-active centric Co3O4-CeO2/Co-N-C composites as superior oxygen reduction catalysts for Zn-air batteries. Sci. China Mater. 64, 73–84 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-020-1378-y

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  • electrocatalyst
  • Zn-air battery
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • cobalt oxide
  • cerium oxide