A recent trend: application of graphene in catalysis

Yuxin Yan, Woo In Shin, Hao Chen, Shar Mun Lee, Sivakumar Manickam, Svenja Hanson, Haitao Zhao, Edward Lester, Tao Wu, Cheng Heng Pang

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Graphene, an allotrope of carbon in 2D structure, has revolutionised research, development and application in various disciplines since its successful isolation 16 years ago. The single layer of sp2-hybridised carbon atoms brings with it a string of unrivalled characteristics at a fraction of the price of its competitors, including platinum, gold and silver. More recently, there has been a growing trend in the application of graphene in catalysis, either as metal-free catalysts, composite catalysts or as catalyst supports. The unique and extraordinary properties of graphene have rendered it useful in increasing the reactivity and selectivity of some reactions. Owing to its large surface area, outstanding adsorptivity and high compatibility with various functional groups, graphene is able to provide a whole new level of possibilities and flexibilities to design and synthesise fit-for-purpose graphene-based catalysts for specific applications. This review is focussed on the progress, mechanisms and challenges of graphene application in four main reactions, i.e., oxygen reduction reaction, water splitting, water treatment and Fischer–Tropsch synthesis. This review also summarises the advantages and drawbacks of graphene over other commonly used catalysts. Given the inherent nature of graphene, coupled with its recent accelerated advancement in the synthesis and modification processes, it is anticipated that the application of graphene in catalysis will grow exponentially from its current stage of infancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-199
Number of pages23
JournalCarbon Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Catalysis
  • Fischer–Tropsch synthesis
  • Graphene
  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • Water splitting
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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