Rutgers chemists develop new high-performance, platinum-free electrocatalyst for electrolysis; licensing available
Rutgers researchers have synthesized cobalt-embedded nitrogen-rich carbon nanotubes (NRCNTs) that 1) can efficiently electrocatalyze the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) with activities close to that of costly platinum and 2) function well under acidic, neutral or basic media alike, allowing them to be coupled with the best available oxygen-evolving catalysts—which also play crucial roles in the overall water-splitting reaction.
The Rutgers team said that their technology is also far more efficient than less-expensive catalysts investigated to-date. A paper on the work is published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
The materials are synthesized by a simple, easily scalable synthetic route involving thermal treatment of Co2+-embedded graphitic carbon nitride derived from inexpensive starting materials (dicyandiamide and CoCl2).
Tewodros (Teddy) Asefa, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and his colleagues attributed the materials’ efficient catalytic activity mainly to their nitrogen dopants and concomitant structural defects.
The researchers have filed for a patent on the catalyst, which is available for licensing or research collaborations through the Rutgers Office of Technology Commercialization. The National Science Foundation funded the research.
Zou, X., Huang, X., Goswami, A., Silva, R., Sathe, B. R., Mikmeková, E. and Asefa, T. (2014) “Cobalt-Embedded Nitrogen-Rich Carbon Nanotubes Efficiently Catalyze Hydrogen Evolution Reaction at All pH Values,” Angew. Chem., 126: 4461–4465. doi: 10.1002/ange.201311111