Soy protein directed hydrothermal synthesis of porous carbon aerogels for electrocatalytic oxygen reduction
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.Herein we presented, for the first time, facile fabrication of nitrogen doped (0.5-4 wt.%) porous carbon aerogels using biomass derivatives (i.e. glucose or cellulose) as the carbon precursor and soy protein as both the nitrogen precursor and the structure directing agent. Through post thermal treatment to improve the electrical conductivity and porosity, the obtained materials showed excellent oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalytic activity. The electrochemical performance was further enhanced after platinum impregnation, combining the advantages of small over-potential from platinum catalyst and high limiting current density from the carbon substrate. Therefore, we demonstrated here not only a novel and low cost hydrothermal synthesis route to achieve high-performing metal-free ORR catalyst or carbon substrate for additional metal catalyst, but also a general principle on how to develop metal nanoparticles/carbon hybrids for ORR.