Project title: The role of Fe in conjunction with N-doping on oxygen electrocatalysis
Summary: Oxygen electrocatalysis is crucial in many areas of energy storage and conversion technologies such as fuel cells, electrolysers, and metal-air batteries. It has been demonstrated that adding Fe within N-doped carbon materials, or other heteroatom-doped carbon frameworks, leads to a significant boost in the electrocatalytic performance, both in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and in the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). However, the best chemical and coordination environment for Fe within the carbon materials is unclear, as is the precise mechanism for oxygen reduction/water oxidation during the ORR/OER processes.
In this project, we aim to design specific Fe-N complexes within commercially available carbon materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The structures will be characterized and the electrocatalysis performance will be tested. Finally, this project will reveal the role of Fe-N complexes in fuel cells, as well as the amount of Fe needed for an electrocatalytic boost in both ORR/OER, including a fundamental understanding of the mechanism during ORR/OER.