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Sequential Catalysis Enables Enhanced C-C Coupling towards Multicarbon Alkenes and Alcohols in Carbon Dioxide Reduction: A Study on CuAu Electrocatalysts

Abstract

Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) to multi-carbon products such as ethylene, ethanol and n-propanol offers a promising path for utilization of excessive CO2 and energy storage. Oxide-derived Cu electrodes are among the best electrocatalysts for the selective formation of ethylene and ethanol. However, a large fraction of the faradaic current still goes to hydrogen evolution even at optimal conditions (electrolyte, potential, etc.). Here we employ the concept of sequential catalysis using judiciously designed CuAu bimetallic catalysts produced through galvanic exchange of Au with Cu2O nanowires. By controlling the concentration of Au precursor and exchange time, Au nanoparticles are evenly dispersed onto Cu2O nanowires. The optimal oxide-derived CuAu catalyst showed remarkable improvement towards the selectivity of ethylene, ethanol and n-propanol, in terms of faradaic efficiency and current density. Our analysis of the electrochemical formation of carbon monoxide, ethylene and hydrogen suggests that the presence of Au, an excellent catalyst for CO2-to-CO conversion, helps enhance *CO-coverage, thus improving the production of multi-carbon products and suppressing hydrogen formation on CuAu catalyst. We also propose promising strategies for designing electrochemical and photoelectrochemical systems, which enable the selective and scalable reduction of CO2 to ethylene and ethanol.

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Publication details

The article was accepted on 14 Jan 2019 and first published on 17 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00219C
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2019, Accepted Manuscript

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    Sequential Catalysis Enables Enhanced C-C Coupling towards Multicarbon Alkenes and Alcohols in Carbon Dioxide Reduction: A Study on CuAu Electrocatalysts

    J. Gao, D. Ren, X. Guo, S. M. Zakeeruddin and M. Grätzel, Faraday Discuss., 2019, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00219C

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