Mn/Cu nanoclusters-grafted N-doped carbon nanotubes: Robust oxygen electrode catalysts for Zn-air batteries

Li Wang, Lili Cui, Xin Ge, Nailin Yue, Xingquan He, Wei Zhang, Tewodros Asefa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Developing efficient nonprecious electrocatalysts that can drive the oxygen electrode reactions in zinc-air batteries (ZABs) is important but remains challenging. In this work, novel materials comprising Mn/Cu nanoclusters-grafted N-doped carbon nanotubes are synthesized by preparing and then pyrolyzing Mn/Cu polyphthalocyanine-encapsulated carbon nanotubes (CNTs), followed by treating the products with acidic solution. The materials are named CNTs@(Mn,Cu)PPc-T, where T denotes the pyrolysis temperature in °C, and they are demonstrated to serve as efficient oxygen electrode catalysts for zinc-air batteries (ZABs). Among them, the one synthesized at 900 °C, CNTs@(Mn,Cu)PPc-900, requires more positive onset and half-wave potentials for reduction of oxygen and a low overpotential for the evolution of oxygen. A rechargeable ZAB assembled with CNTs@(Mn,Cu)PPc-900 electrocatalyst delivers a high power density (158.5 mW cm−2) and displays an excellent stability in 200 cycles of charge/discharge (in over 33 h). Such performance is even superior to that of a ZAB containing the benchmark Pt/C + RuO2 catalyst as an air cathode under identical testing condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27230-27243
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - Oct 16 2020


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Mn/Cu nanocluster
  • Oxygen electrocatalyst
  • Polyphthalocyanine
  • Zinc-air battery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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