Biomass Related Highly Porous Metal Free Carbon for Gas Storage and Electrocatalytic Applications

Materials (Basel). 2021 Jun 23;14(13):3488. doi: 10.3390/ma14133488.


In this paper we report the synthesis of a N, S co-doped metal free carbon cryogel obtained from a marine biomass derived precursor using urea as nitrogen source. Natural carrageenan intrinsically contains S and inorganic salt. The latter also serves as an activating agent during the pyrolytic step. The overall 11.6 atomic % surface heteroatom concentration comprises 5% O, 4.6% N and 1% S. The purified and annealed final carbon (CA) has a hierarchical pore structure of micro-, meso- and macropores with an apparent surface area of 1070 m2/g. No further treatment was applied. The gas adsorption potential of the samples was probed with H2, CO2 and CH4, while the electrocatalytic properties were tested in an oxygen reduction reaction. The atmospheric CO2 and CH4 storage capacity at 0 °C in the low pressure range is very similar to that of HKUST-1, with the CO2/CH4 selectivity below 20 bar, even exceeding that of the MOF, indicating the potential of CA in biogas separation. The electrocatalytic behavior was assessed in an aqueous KOH medium. The observed specific gravimetric capacitance 377 F/g was exceeded only in B, N dual doped and/or graphene doped carbons from among metal free electrode materials. The CA electrode displays almost the same performance as a commercial 20 wt% Pt/C electrode. The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) exhibits the 4-electron mechanism. The 500-cycle preliminary stability test showed only a slight increase of the surface charge.

Keywords: N, S co-doped carbon; ORR; electrocatalysis; gas storage; oxygen reduction reaction.