In situ anchoring of a Co3O4 nanowire on nickel foam: an outstanding bifunctional catalyst for energy-saving simultaneous reactions†
Catalytic oxidation of 5-hydroxylmethylfurfural (HMF) is a sustainable strategy to produce 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) as a desirable alternative to substitute fossil-based terephthalic, isophthalic and adipic acids for synthesizing biopolymers. However, the reaction mostly depends on noble metal catalysts for the generation of reactive oxygen species to accelerate the oxidation of alcohol groups. Here, we report a facile route to generate a highly active catalyst for the simultaneous production of FDCA via HMF oxidation and high-purity H2. Co3O4 nanowires with a pine needle-like shape were in situ grown on nickel foam (CoNW/NF) and employed as bifunctional catalysts for both the electrooxidation of HMF and the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), realizing a high catalytic activity, robust electrochemical durability and nearly 100% faradaic efficiency. Such an inexpensive and monolithic electrode may assist in upgrading biochemicals with a high energy efficiency.