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Issue 2, 2016
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Highly effective sites and selectivity of nitrogen-doped graphene/CNT catalysts for CO2 electrochemical reduction

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Abstract

Metal-free catalysts, such as graphene/carbon nanostructures, are highly cost-effective to replace expensive noble metals for CO2 reduction if fundamental issues, such as active sites and selectivity, are clearly understood. Using both density functional theory (DFT) and ab initio molecular dynamic calculations, we show that the interplay of N-doping and curvature can effectively tune the activity and selectivity of graphene/carbon-nanotube (CNT) catalysts. The CO2 activation barrier can be optimized to 0.58 eV for graphitic-N doped graphene edges, compared with 1.3 eV in the un-doped counterpart. The graphene catalyst without curvature shows strong selectivity for CO/HCOOH production, whereas the (6, 0) CNT with a high degree of curvature is effective for both CH3OH and HCHO production. Curvature is also very influential to tune the overpotential for a given product, e.g. from 1.5 to 0.02 V for CO production and from 1.29 to 0.49 V for CH3OH production. Hence, the graphene/CNT nanostructures offer great scope and flexibility for effective tunning of catalyst efficiency and selectivity, as shown here for CO2 reduction.

Graphical abstract: Highly effective sites and selectivity of nitrogen-doped graphene/CNT catalysts for CO2 electrochemical reduction

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
29 Sep 2015
Accepted
11 Nov 2015
First published
12 Nov 2015

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2016,7, 1268-1275
Article type
Edge Article
Author version available

Highly effective sites and selectivity of nitrogen-doped graphene/CNT catalysts for CO2 electrochemical reduction

G. Chai and Z. Guo, Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 1268
DOI: 10.1039/C5SC03695J

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