Catalyzed oxygen evolution and oxygen reduction reactions (OER and ORR, respectively) are of particular significance in many energy conversion and storage processes. During the last decade, they emerged as potential routes to sustain the ever-growing needs of the future clean energy market. Unfortunately, the state-of-the-art OER and ORR electrocatalysts, which are based on noble metals, are noticeably limited by a generally high activity towards one type of reaction only, high costs and relatively low abundance. Therefore, the development of (bi)functional low-cost non-noble metal or metal-free electrocatalysts is expected to increase the practical energy density and drastically reduce the production costs. Owing to their pore properties and high surface areas, mesoporous materials show high activity towards electrochemical reactions. Among all synthesis methods available for the synthesis of non-noble mesoporous metal oxides, the hard-templating (or nanocasting) approach is one of the most attractive in terms of achieving variable morphology and porosity of the materials. In this review, we thus focus on the recent advances in the design, synthesis, characterization and efficiency of non-noble metal OER and ORR electrocatalysts obtained via the nanocasting route. Critical aspects of these materials and perspectives for future developments are also discussed.
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