Graphene Aerogels When Optimized with Nitrogen and Boron Can Prove to be Effective Catalysts, says a Research Study

Published By : 05 Mar 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

A team of scientists at the Rice University have concluded that when aerogels that contain no metals are optimized with nitrogen and boron can prove to be effective catalysts for producing fuel cells. The aerogels in question refer to those that are made of nanoribbons of graphene. Several levels of nitrogen and boron coupled with nanoribbons of graphene were used by the research team. They did this in order to examine the characteristic features and electrochemical properties of the nanoribbons. While performing the tests, the scientists observed a variant containing 10% nitrogen and boron that was quite effective in the catalysis of reactions that called for oxygen reduction. 

A reaction that involves the reduction of oxygen is generally carried out in processes that produce energy derived from raw materials like methanol. The scientists also expressed that the potential of graphene to act as a catalyst is most efficient in situations which involve the interactivity of molecules. What this team of scientists did was, that they compressed the carbon nanotubes to convert them into ribbons. After that these ribbons were structured into 3D aerogels fortified with nitrogen and boron molecules on the edge of the ribbons. This material has the capacity to provide several active sites coupled with the edges that are exposed for reactions that involve oxygen reduction. 

According to a lead scientist, the very essence of creating catalysts that are carbon-based lies in the process of doping, primarily with elements like boron and nitrogen. Several studies and experiments have proved that graphitic systems that include nitrogen, boron, and carbon can be used as effective substitutes for catalysts that are platinum based. Aerogels when fortified either nitrogen or boron have the capacity to avoid the crossover impact caused over platinum.
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