CoFex-CoFe2O4/N-doped carbon nanocomposite derived from in situ pyrolysis of a single source precursor as a superior bifunctional electrocatalyst for water splitting

Hui Zhuang, Ye Xie, Huaqiang Tan, Yuanfu Deng, Yingwei Li, Guohua Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Application of a bifunctional electrocatalyst for simultaneously producing H2 and O2 is still a great challenge, which is important for the enhancement of the overall efficiency of water electrolysis. Taking advantages of the superior conductivity of N-doped graphite carbon, the good electrocatalytic performance of Co-based alloys for HER and excellent performance of cobalt-based oxide for OER, herein, we prepare a CoFex-CoFe2O4/N-doped carbon nanocomposite with a hierarchical porous structure used to HER and OER by pyrolysis of a new single source precursor {[Co(H2O)6][Fe(Hedta)Cl]2·4H2O]}. CoFex-CoFe2O4/N-doped carbon displays high activity with small overpotentials of respective 159 and 257 mV required to achieve a current density of 20 mA cm−2 as well as catalytic durability for HER and OER in 1.0 M KOH. Furthermore, this bifunctional electrocatalyst enables an alkaline electrolyzer with 20 mA cm−2 at a cell voltage of ∼1.68 V. The good performance of CF-CFO/NC for HER and OER can be attributed to the low charge transfer impedance, a porous structure and the synergistic role of cobalt-based alloy and cobalt-based mixed metal oxide. This work may provide a new approach to prepare an efficient, cost-effective and superior electrocatalyst in large scale using earth-abundant elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Bifunctional electrocatalyst
  • Low overpotential
  • N-doped graphite carbon
  • Single source precursor
  • Water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry

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