Noble-Metal-Free Iron Nitride/Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Composite for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction

Tamás Varga, Lívia Vásárhelyi, Gergo Ballai, Henrik Haspel, Albert Oszkó, Ákos Kukovecz, Zoltán Kónya

Research output: Article

7 Citations (Scopus)


Considerable effort has been devoted recently to replace platinum-based catalysts with their non-noble-metal counterparts in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells. Nitrogen-doped carbon structures emerged as possible candidates for this role, and their earth-abundant metal-decorated composites showed great promise. Here, we report on the simultaneous formation of nitrogen-doped graphene and iron nitride from the lyophilized mixture of graphene oxide and iron salt by high-temperature annealing in ammonia atmosphere. A mixture of FeN and Fe2N particles was formed with average particle size increasing from 23.4 to 127.0 nm and iron content ranging from 5 to 50 wt %. The electrocatalytic oxygen reduction activity was investigated via the rotating disk electrode method in alkaline media. The highest current density of 3.65 mA cm-2 at 1500 rpm rotation rate was achieved in the 20 wt % catalyst via the four-electrode reduction pathway, exceeding the activity of both the pristine iron nitride and the undecorated nitrogen-doped graphene. Since our catalysts showed improved methanol tolerance compared to the platinum-based ones, the formed non-noble-metal system offers a viable alternative to the platinum-decorated carbon black (Pt/CB) ORR catalysts in direct methanol fuel cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-139
Number of pages10
JournalACS Omega
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - jan. 3 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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