Efficient waste polyvinyl(butyral) and cellulose composite enabled carbon nanofibers for oxygen reduction reaction and water remediation

Jong Chel Park, Jae Chan Kim, Sangbaek Park, Dong Wan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Waste polyvinyl(butyral) (W-PVB) collected from the windshields of end-of-life vehicles has drawn considerable interest as a complementary and abundant resource. However, large amounts of W-PVB are still being buried in landfills every year owing to a lack of recycling techniques. As an alternative, we report the fabrication of carbon nanofibers from natural cellulose and W-PVB composites using a facile electrospinning, carbonization, and KOH activation approach. Interestingly, volatiles and residual carbon from a W-PVB matrix through carbonization produce highly porous carbon nanofibers and a defective graphitic surface layer, respectively. As a result of the large surface area (698.1 m2 g−1) and pore volume (0.2919 cm3 g−1) from abundant micropores, as well as the high density of active sites from defects, resulting carbon nanofiber shows a superior performance in environmental applications. It serves as a metal-free and un-doped carbon catalyst with a half-wave potential of 0.76 V vs RHE for the oxygen reduction reaction and a 99.6% removal of rhodamine B from water as an adsorbent for water remediation. This simple strategy can open a new approach to the design and synthesis of various classes of W-PVB-based composites, which will broaden the reuse of W-PVB in renewable and sustainable applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145505
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 30



  • Adsorbent
  • Cellulose
  • Electrospinning
  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • Porous carbon nanofibers
  • Waste polyvinyl(butyral)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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