Importance of Carbon Porosity for Energy-Related Applications
Nanoporous carbons have many advantages over other adsorbents. This includes their high surface area, pore volume and also conductivity of a carbon matrix. The latter is very important for electrocatalysis. In recent years carbon materials have gained a lot of attention as metal-free catalysts. Their catalytic centers have been linked mainly to nitrogen and sulfur heteroatoms incorporated to the carbon matrix. So far, the research efforts have focused mainly on nanoforms of carbons such a graphene and CNT. Inspired by those results, we have performed CO2 and O2 electroreduction on nanoporous carbons assuming that small pores, similar in sizes to target molecules, can enhance the efficiency of these catalytic processes. Indeed, the results suggested that even though the N- and S- based catalytic centers are important, adsorption of O2 or CO2/CO2-/CO/H2 in pores has a positive effect on these overall reduction processes. This minireview summarizes our recent results on the role of porosity in electrocatalysis on porous carbons.
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