Herein, the synthesis of heteroatom-containing graphene-like carbon nanosheets (HA-GCNs) by chemical activation of waste biomass, namely peanut shells. As characterized by a variety of analytical and spectroscopy techniques, the as-synthesized HA-GCNs material carbonized at 900 °C was found to possess sheet-like porous nanosheet morphology with high surface areas (>800 m2 g-1) and desirable of heteroatom contents such as nitrogen (N; 0.84 atom%), and oxygen (O) as high as 20.25 atom%, which greatly improved the electronic properties of the carbon substrate for prospective applications as metal-free electrodes and electrocatalytic materials. The HA-GCNs were found to exhibit a superior specific capacitance of 148, 145, 125, and 105 F g-1 corresponding to the KOH, NaOH, LiOH, and H2SO4 electrolyte solutions, respectively. Although, the HA-GCNs electrode exhibited extraordinary electrochemical performances and cyclic charge-discharge stabilities. Moreover, these novel HA-GCNs exhibited excellent electrocatalytic activities and cyclic stabilities for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) with a desirable current density of 1.17 mA cm-2 in O2-saturated 0.1 M KOH solution, surpassing that of noble metal-incorporated activated carbons. The superior electrochemical and electrocatalytic performances observed for the HA-GCNs were attributed to the unique pseudocapacitive behavior of the oxygen surface functional groups as well as their unique textural properties, rendering practical applications as low-cost electrodes for supercapacitors and metal-free electrocatalysts for ORR.
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