Polyaniline-Derived N- and O-Doped Mesoporous Carbon: Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR)

Invention Summary:

In the face of global problems associated with the lack of sustainable and renewable energy sources and environmental pollutions caused by fossil fuels, fuel cells have long been expected to contribute to the solutions to these daunting problems by helping to produce electricity from fuels such as hydrogen. Unfortunately, the electrodes (both cathode and anode) in many conventional fuel cells are composed of expensive and less earth abundant noble metal platinum, which serves as the electrocatalyst. This remains one of the bottlenecks currently plaguing fuel cells from finding a wide range of applications. The second major problem with fuel cells is the inherent poor efficiency of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) - one of the redox reactions that has to take place at one of the half cells within fuel cells.

Researchers at Rutgers have invented a metal-free material that significantly addresses or overcomes two issues associated with ORR. They have developed a synthetic method for making mesoporous oxygen- and nitrogen-doped carbons and efficient electrocatalysts for ORR. This was achieved from in-situ polymerized mesoporous silica-supported polyaniline (PANI) that was subjected to different high temperatures to undergo carbonization. The resulting polyaniline-derived mesoporous carbons (PDMC) exhibited very high electrocatalytic activity toward ORR. It is noteworthly that this material is a multifunctional ORR electrocatalyst with among the highest electrocatalytic activity for ORR today yet it is completely metal-free.

Market Applications:

  • Fuel Cells


  • Completely metal-free
  • Among the highest electrocatalytic activity for ORR

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Deborah Perez
Associate Director, Physical Sciences & Ag
Rutgers University