• ethanol electrooxidation;
  • layered double hydroxides;
  • hollow microspheres;
  • tunable architecture


Hierarchical MgFe-layered double hydroxide (LDH) microspheres with tunable interior structure are synthesized by a facile and cost-effective surfactant-templated method. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy images reveal that the obtained microspheres display a three-dimensional architecture with hollow, yolk−shell and solid interior structure, respectively, with continuous changes in specific surface area and pore-size distribution. Moreover, the hollow MgFe-LDH microspheres exhibit excellent electrocatalytic oxidation of ethanol in alkaline fuel cell, including high activity, long-term durability and cycling stability, owing to the significantly improved faradaic redox reaction and mass transport. Therefore, this work provides a promising approach for the design and synthesis of structure tunable materials with largely enhanced ethanol electrooxidation behavior, which can be potentially used in noble metal-free alkaline fuel cells.