Scalable and Tunable Synthesis of Sustainable Nitrogen-doped Hydrothermal Carbon Materials (N-HTC) as Support Material for Platinum/N-HTC ORR Catalysts
Julian Martin a b c, Julia Melke a b c, Jan Büttner a c d, Anna Fischer a b c d
a Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, University of Freiburg, Germany
b Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF), University of Freiburg, Fahnenbergplatz, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
c Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT), University of Freiburg, Germany
d Cluster of Excellence livMatS @ FIT – Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies, University of Freiburg, Germany
nanoGe Fall Meeting
Proceedings of Materials for Sustainable Development Conference (MAT-SUS) (NFM22)
#SusEnergy - Sustainable materials for energy storage and conversion
Barcelona, Spain, 2022 October 24th - 28th
Organizer: Tim-Patrick Fellinger
Poster, Julian Martin, 339
Publication date: 11th July 2022

In modern catalysis carbon materials play a crucial role, often used as support materials for the immobilization of metal nanoparticles. Thereby the natural of the carbon material has an important role on the catalytic activity and hence can improve the overall electrochemical performance of both, energy storage and conversion devices.[1]

Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a thermochemical process for the production of functional carbon materials starting from biomass or biomass-derivatives that are converted under pressure and elevated temperature in an aqueous environment into carbonaceous precursor materials.[2]

Here, we report a lab-scaled synthesis of N-doped carbon materials as a versatile electrode material adaptable for electrochemical applications need that allows to fine tune the morphology, size and porosity, but also the physicochemical properties such as chemical and surface composition. The sustainable nitrogen-doped hydrothermal carbon materials (N-HTC) were synthesized by hydrothermal carbonization from low-cost and abundant precursors, glucose and ovalbumin at mild temperatures. Further temperature treatment of the produced aerogels allows the adjustment of the surface chemistry (N-content), porosity and graphitization/conductivity of these.[3]

Successfully, large-scale production, more precisely, scaling the synthesis from several 100 mg up to >10 g within the limitations of common academic laboratories was achieved. These materials are fully characterized, e.g. elemental composition, surface chemistry, crystallinity, porosity, etc. and compared with each other as mesoporous N-doped carbon materials are of great interest in the scope of electrochemical energy conversion.[3,4] In addition, these N-HTC materials were loaded with Pt nanoparticles by wetness impregnation process for the production of a Pt/N-HTC catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) for fuel cell applications. [3]  The influence of the synthesis conditions and as such of the support and nanoparticle properties on the ORR activity and stability of the developed catalysts was investigated by electrochemical rotating disk electrode (RDE).

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