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Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and the University of North Texas have made what they believe is the first metal-free bifunctional electrocatalyst that performs as well or better than most metal and metal oxide electrodes in zinc-air batteries.

Zinc-air batteries are expected to be safer, lighter, cheaper and more powerful and durable than common in mobile phones and laptops and increasingly used in hybrid and electric cars.

This carbon-based works efficiently in both the and oxygen evolution reaction, making the battery rechargeable. The catalyst is also inexpensive, easy to make and more ecological than most of the alternative materials.

The research is published in the online edition of Nature Nanotechnology.

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