The future of affordable fuel cells strongly relies on the design of earth-abundant (non-platinum) catalysts for the electrochemical oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). However, the bottleneck in the overall process occurs therein. We have examined herein trivalent Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, and Cu complexes of β-pyrrole-brominated corrole as ORR catalysts. The adsorption of these complexes on a high-surface-area carbon powder (BP2000) created a unique composite material, used for electrochemical measurements in acidic aqueous solutions. These experiments disclosed a clear dependence of the catalytic activity on the metal center of the complexes, in the order of Co>Fe>Ni>Mn>Cu. The best catalytic performance was obtained for the CoIII corrole, whose onset potential was as positive as 0.81V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE). Insight into the properties of these systems was gained by spectroscopic and computational characterization of the reduced and oxidized forms of the metallocorroles.
- fuel cells
- oxygen reduction reaction
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