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      Electrospun CNF Supported Ceramics as Electrochemical Catalysts for Water Splitting and Fuel Cell: A Review

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          With the per capita growth of energy demand, there is a significant need for alternative and sustainable energy resources. Efficient electrochemical catalysis will play an important role in sustaining that need, and nanomaterials will play a crucial role, owing to their high surface area to volume ratio. Electrospun nanofiber is one of the most promising alternatives for producing such nanostructures. A section of key nano-electrocatalysts comprise of transition metals (TMs) and their derivatives, like oxides, sulfides, phosphides and carbides, etc., as well as their 1D composites with carbonaceous elements, like carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofiber (CNF), to utilize the fruits of TMs’ electronic structure, their inherent catalytic capability and the carbon counterparts’ stability, and electrical conductivity. In this work, we will discuss about such TM derivatives, mostly TM-based ceramics, grown on the CNF substrates via electrospinning. We will discuss about manufacturing methods, and their electrochemical catalysis performances in regards to energy conversion processes, dealing mostly with water splitting, the metal–air battery fuel cell, etc. This review will help to understand the recent evolution, challenges and future scopes related to electrospun transition metal derivative-based CNFs as electrocatalysts.

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          Most cited references 120

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          The identification of the active sites in heterogeneous catalysis requires a combination of surface sensitive methods and reactivity studies. We determined the active site for hydrogen evolution, a reaction catalyzed by precious metals, on nanoparticulate molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) by atomically resolving the surface of this catalyst before measuring electrochemical activity in solution. By preparing MoS2 nanoparticles of different sizes, we systematically varied the distribution of surface sites on MoS2 nanoparticles on Au(111), which we quantified with scanning tunneling microscopy. Electrocatalytic activity measurements for hydrogen evolution correlate linearly with the number of edge sites on the MoS2 catalyst.
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              Nanobelts of semiconducting oxides.

              Ultralong beltlike (or ribbonlike) nanostructures (so-called nanobelts) were successfully synthesized for semiconducting oxides of zinc, tin, indium, cadmium, and gallium by simply evaporating the desired commercial metal oxide powders at high temperatures. The as-synthesized oxide nanobelts are pure, structurally uniform, and single crystalline, and most of them are free from defects and dislocations. They have a rectanglelike cross section with typical widths of 30 to 300 nanometers, width-to-thickness ratios of 5 to 10, and lengths of up to a few millimeters. The beltlike morphology appears to be a distinctive and common structural characteristic for the family of semiconducting oxides with cations of different valence states and materials of distinct crystallographic structures. The nanobelts could be an ideal system for fully understanding dimensionally confined transport phenomena in functional oxides and building functional devices along individual nanobelts.

                Author and article information

                Polymers (Basel)
                Polymers (Basel)
                19 January 2020
                January 2020
                : 12
                : 1
                [1 ]School of Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi HP 175075, India; shlverma14@
                [2 ]Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
                [3 ]Corporate Innovation Center, United States Gypsum, Libertyville, IL 60048, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: sumitsinha@ (S.S.-R.); ssinha6@ (S.S.-R.)
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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