Covalent Tethering of Cobalt Porphyrins on Phenolic Resins for Electrocatalytic Oxygen Reduction and Evolution Reactions

Jiafan Kong, Haonan Qin, Luna Yang, Jieling Zhang, Yuxin Peng, Yimei Gao, Yizhen Wu, Wonwoo Nam, Rui Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using functionalized supporting materials for the immobilization of molecular catalysts is an appealing strategy to improve the efficiency of molecular electrocatalysis. Herein, we report the covalent tethering of cobalt porphyrins on phenolic resins (PR) for improved electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER). A cobalt porphyrin bearing an alkyl bromide substituent was covalently tethered on phenolic resins, through the substitution reaction of alkyl bromides with phenolic hydroxyl groups, to afford molecule-engineered phenolic resins (Co-PR). The resulted Co-PR was efficient for electrocatalytic ORR and OER by displaying an ORR half-wave potential of E1/2=0.78 V versus RHE and an OER overpotential of 420 mV to get 10 mA/cm2 current density. We propose that the many residual phenolic hydroxyl groups on PR will surround the tethered Co porphyrin and play critical roles in facilitating proton and electron transfers. Importantly, Co-PR outperformed unmodified PR and PR loaded with Co porphyrins through simple physical adsorption (termed Co@PR). The zinc-air battery assembled using Co-PR displayed a performance comparable to that using Pt/C+Ir/C. This work is significant to present phenolic resins as a functionalized material to support molecular electrocatalysts and demonstrate the strategy to improve molecular electrocatalysis with the use of phenolic resin residues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202400017
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • molecular electrocatalysis
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • phenolic resin
  • zinc-air battery


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