N-doped porous carbon from Sargassum spp. As efficient metal-free electrocatalysts for O 2 reduction in alkaline fuel cells

K. Y. Pérez-Salcedo, Xuan Shi, Arunachala Mada Kannan, Romeli Barbosa, Patricia Quintana, Beatriz Escobar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This work reports the synthesis of N-doped porous carbon (NPC) with a high surface area from Sargassum spp. as a low-cost alternative for electrocatalyst production for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Sargassum spp. was activated with potassium hydroxide at different temperatures (700, 750, and 800 C) and then doped with pyridine (N700, N750, and N800). As a result of the activation process, the 800 C sample showed a high surface area (2765 m 2 g 1 ) and good onset potential (0.870 V) and current density (4.87 mA cm 2 ). The ORR performance of the electrocatalysts in terms of their current density was N800 > N750 > N700 > 750 > 800 > 700, while the onset potential decreased in the following order: N800 > 800 > 750 > 700 > N700 > N750. The fuel cell performance of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) prepared with electrocatalyst synthesized at 750 C and doped with pyridine was 12.72 mW cm 2 , which was close to that from Pt/C MEA on both the anode and cathode (14.42 mW cm 2 ). These results indicate that NPCs are an alternative to the problem of Sargassum spp. accumulation in the Caribbean due to their high efficiency as electrocatalysts for ORR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number346
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 23 2019


  • Alkaline fuel cell
  • N-doped porous carbon
  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • Sargassum spp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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