Iron encapsulated in 3D N-doped carbon nanotube/porous carbon hybrid from waste biomass for enhanced oxidative activity.
Electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction and evolution reactions (ORR/OER) are often functionally separated, meaning that they are only proficient at one of the tasks. Here we report a high-performance bifunctional catalyst for both ORR and OER in both alkaline and neutral media, which is made of cobalt-embedded nitrogen doped carbon nanotubes. In OER, it shows an overpotential of 200 mV in 0.1 M KOH and 300 mV in neutral media, while the current density reaches 50 mA cm(-2) in alkaline media and 10 mA cm(-2) in neutral media at overpotential of 300 mV. In ORR, it is on par with Pt/C in both alkaline and neutral media in terms of overpotential, but its stability is superior. Further study demonstrated that the high performance can be attributed to the coordination of N to Co and the concomitant structural defects arising from the transformation of cobalt-phthalocyanine precursor.