Large-scale, facile synthesis of nitrogen-doped graphene foam (GF) from low cost precursors is reported as a support material for platinum in fuel cell cathodes. The nitrogen-doped GF was produced by combustion of nitrogen-containing sodium alkoxide, followed by washing and heat treatment in various gases. A nitrogen-free reference sample was also synthesized. The BET surface area is higher than 700 m2 g-1, and the material is highly defective, partly due to the inclusion of nitrogen, and partly due to the low temperature, catalyst-free synthesis method. These defects result in an excellent distribution of platinum nanoparticles on the surface. The electrochemical performance of the resulting electrocatalysts was characterized using cyclic voltammetry and linear sweep voltammetry, revealing that nitrogen doping has potential to increase the durability of graphene-based catalysts. Therefore, this material is a potentially useful catalyst support for use in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
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