Highly-efficient repetitive passive Q-switching of a cladding-pumped Er-Yb fiber laser has been demonstrated by employing an external cavity configuration containing a Co2+:ZnS crystal as saturable absorber. Energies up to 60µJ in pulses of duration as short as 3.5ns (FWHM), corresponding to a peak power >10kW, have been generated, and the maximum slope efficiency with respect to absorbed pump power was 13%. Using a bulk diffraction grating in Littrow configuration to provide wavelength selective feedback, the passively Q-switched fiber laser was tuned over 31nm from 1532nm to 1563nm. The prospects for further improvement in performance will be discussed
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