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Enhanced perovskites

By Paul Grad |

Researchers from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (Ulsan; www.unist.ac.kr) have found a new way to increase the energy efficiency of metal-air batteries — which are next-generation energy devices — by adding the conducting polymer polypyrrole (pPy). According to the researchers, when either a perovskite or pPy are used alone, their catalytic activity cannot match that of platinum, but when used together, however, their catalytic effect matched that of platinum. Nitrogen-containing electrocatalysts, such as metal-nitrogen-carbon composites and nitrogen-doped carbons, are known to exhibit high activity for an oxygen-reduction reaction. However, a strong electronic interaction between nitrogen and active sites has been found in these composites. The researchers demonstrated a case in which nitrogen improves the electroactivity, but in the absence of a strong interaction with other components. The researchers thus found a way of increasing the catalytic activity of perovskite oxide catalysts for the oxygen-reduction reaction (ORR) or oxygen-evolution reaction (OER) in rechargeable metal-air batteries and fuel cells.                                
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