Exploration of metal-free 2D electrocatalysts toward the oxygen electroreduction

This review presents recent advances in metal-free 2D materials for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), covering mechanistic insights, catalyst development, and performance enhancement. It also addresses challenges and future prospects for the development of high-performance metal-free 2D electrocatalysts toward the ORR.


The advancement of economical and readily available electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) holds paramount importance in the advancement of fuel cells and metal-air batteries. Recently, 2D non-metallic materials have obtained substantial attention as viable alternatives for ORR catalysts due to their manifold advantages, encompassing low cost, ample availability, substantial surface-to-volume ratio, high conductivity, exceptional durability, and competitive activity. The augmented ORR performances observed in metal-free 2D materials typically arise from heteroatom doping, defects, or the formation of heterostructures. Here, the authors delve into the realm of electrocatalysts for the ORR, pivoting around metal-free 2D materials. Initially, the merits of metal-free 2D materials are explored and the reaction mechanism of the ORR is dissected. Subsequently, a comprehensive survey of diverse metal-free 2D materials is presented, tracing their evolutionary journey from fundamental concepts to pragmatic applications in the context of ORR. Substantial importance is given on the exploration of various strategies for enhancing metal-free 2D materials and assessing their impact on inherent material performance, including electronic properties. Finally, the challenges and future prospects that lie ahead for metal-free 2D materials are underscored, as they aspire to serve as efficient ORR electrocatalysts.

Author list:

Joyjit Kundu†, Taehyun Kwon†, Kwangyeol Lee*, Sang-Il Choi*

How to cite:

J. Kundu, T. Kwon, K. Lee, S.-I. Choi, Exploration 2024, 20220174.