Background: Despite the high activity of metal-based catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) the use of platinum and its alloys in fuel cell applications results in high costs reduced thermal efficiencies and scalability issues. Carbon-based materials doped with non-precious metals have been investigated as a cost effective alternative but these materials exhibit low activity and degradation. As a result durable inexpensive materials with high activity and selectivity are desired. Technology Description: Three dimensional architectures based on doped carbon-based materials have been prepared and shown to be promising candidates as metal-free electrocatalysts for fuel cells. Graphene oxide nanoribbons (GONRs) are cross-linked to form three-dimensional architectures that are subsequently co-doped with boron and nitrogen. These three-dimensional porous structures possess abundant edges thin walls and tunable heteroatom content that enable fast transport of oxygen and reduction products. These features result in the highest ORR activity in alkaline media reported for any metal-free catalyst.This metal-free material could also serve as a catalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction making it a promising candidate for use in zinc-air batteries. Applications: This material finds potential application as a highly active electrocatalyst for ORR and OER processes in fuel cell and metal-air batteries.
1) Durable metal-free ORR catalyst with high activity and selectivity 2) Method allows tuning of heteroatom sites and content 3) Doped GNRs also active catalyst for oxygen evolution reactions (OER)