S. Kalathil, K.P. Katuri, A.S. Alazmi, S. Pedireddy, N. Kornienko, P.M.F.J. Costa, P.E. Saikaly
Chemistry of Materials, volume 31, pp. 3686-3693, (2019)
Doping/decorating of graphene or reduced graphene oxide (rGO) with heteroatoms provides a promising route for the development of electrocatalysts which will be useful in many technologies, including water splitting. However, current doping approaches are complicated, not eco-friendly, and not cost-effective. Herein, we report the synthesis of doped/decorated rGO for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) using a simple approach that is cost-effective, sustainable, and easy to scale up. The OER catalyst was derived from the reduction of GO by an exo-electron-transferring bacterium, Geobacter sulfurreducens. Various analytical tools indicate that OER active elements such as Fe, Cu, N, P, and S decorate the rGO flakes. The hybrid catalyst (i.e., Geobacter/rGO) produces a geometric current density of 10 mA cm–2 at an overpotential of 270 mV versus the reversible hydrogen electrode with a Tafel slope of 43 mV dec–1 and possesses high durability, as evidenced through 10 h of stability testing. Electrochemical analyses suggest the importance of Fe and its possible role as an active site for OER. Overall, this work represents a simple approach toward the development of an earth-abundant, eco-friendly, and highly active OER electrocatalyst for various applications such as solar fuel production, rechargeable metal–air batteries, and microbial electrosynthesis.