Progress in carbon-based electrocatalyst derived from biomass for the hydrogen evolution reaction

Qichang Wang, Rui Guo, Zhanghong Wang, Dekui Shen*, Ran Yu, KaiHong Luo, Chunfei Wu, Sai Gu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) involving electrocatalytic process is established as a promising and non-pollution method for hydrogen production. The cheap alternatives of precious-metal electrocatalysts with high activity and robust stability is essential for the high-scale application of electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution. Recently, carbon-based electrocatalysts derived from biomass have attracted more and more attentions with thanks to their characteristics as low-cost, renewable, abundantly distributed and environmentally friendly. In this work, the original carbon material derived from biomass and the one doped with N and/or S as HER electrocatalysts are intensively overviewed regarding to the electrochemical performance and hydrogen yield. The overpotential at 10 mA cm−210) is generally greater than 100 mV, which is far inferior to Pt-based catalysts. Consequently, biomass-based carbon materials decorated by transition metal and/or trace amount precious metal were introduced for improving the HER performance. The synergistic effect between metals and heteroatoms can significantly enhance the electrocatalytic activity, and the smallest value of η10 is 10 mV. The limitations and challenges in this area were also addressed as (1) the in-depth investigation of conversion and electrocatalytic mechanism, (2) metal modification via in-situ growth, (3) the reproducibility for biomass transformation, and (4) the catalyst assembly with renewable energy equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120440
Number of pages24
Early online date27 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of National Natural Science Foundation ( 51878145 and 51861145102 ), and Jiangsu Provincial Key Research and Development Program ( BE2020114 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Biomass
  • Carbon material
  • Electrocatalyst
  • Hydrogen evolution reaction
  • Transition metal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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