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A Host-guest Approach to Fabricate Metallic Cobalt Nanoparticles Embedded in Silk-derived N-doped Carbon Fibers for Efficient Hydrogen Evolution


Hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) plays a key role in generating clean and renewable energy. As the most effective HER electrocatalysts, Pt group catalysts suffer from severe problems such as high price and scarcity. It is highly desirable to design and synthesize sustainable HER electrocatalysts to replace the Pt group catalysts. Due to their low cost, high abundance and high activities, cobalt-incorporated N-doped nanocarbon hybrids are promising candidate electrocatalysts for HER. In this report, we demonstrated a robust and eco-friendly host-guest approach to fabricate metallic cobalt nanoparticles embedded in N-doped carbon fibers derived from natural silk fibers. Benefiting from the one-dimensional nanostructure, the well-dispersed metallic cobalt nanoparticles and the N-doped thin graphitized carbon layer coating, the best Co-based electrocatalyst manifests low overpotential (61 mV@10 mA/cm2) HER activity that is comparable with commercial 20% Pt/C, and good stability in acid. Our findings provide a novel and unique route to explore high-performance noble-metal-free HER electrocatalysts.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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