Zinc ion hybrid capacitors hold great potential for future energy storage that requires both high energy density and high power capability. However, the charge storage mechanism of porous carbon cathode is ambiguous in Zn2+ ion-containing aqueous solutions, albeit porous carbon usually stores charge by electric double-layer capacitance. Herein, we developed a supermolecule-mediated direct pyrolysis carbonization strategy to convert sustainable sodium lignosulfonate resources into three-dimensional highly heteroatom-doped porous carbons with large mesopores. Through this strategy, we obtained lignin-derived porous carbons with high heteroatom dopings (14.9 at% nitrogen and 4.7 at% oxygen) and relatively high specific surface areas. Furthermore, the nitrogen doping configurations were mainly edge-nitrogen dopants even under high pyrolysis temperatures (> 900 °C). Lignin-derived nitrogen-doped porous carbon showed a high gravimetric specific capacitance of 266 F g−1 with high rate capability, which is endowed by the increased surface pseudocapacitance. First-principles calculations and molecular dynamics simulations indicate that the edge nitrogen and oxygen dopants contribute to the reversible adsorption/desorption of zinc ions and protons. Pores size less than 6.8 Å can cause a significant diffusion energy barrier for the hydrated zinc ions, thus degrading the capacitance and rate capability.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-10-17
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22108044), the Research and Development Program in Key Fields of Guangdong Province (2020B1111380002), the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (2019A1515011512, 2021A1515010172), the Basic Research and Applicable Basic Research in Guangzhou City (202201010290), the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Biorefinery (2021GDKLPRB07), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia. We acknowledge the help of Dr. Chunjie Cao from Carl Zeiss (Shanghai) for the X-ray micro Computed Tomography analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- General Materials Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering