Electrocatalytic synthesis of organic carbonates
Organic carbonates are considered environmentally benign alternatives for various fossil-derived compounds used in the chemical industry. Replacing current costly and toxic production methods by greener alternatives offers opportunities to cover the increasing demand for these intermediates in a more sustainable manner. In this feature article, the prospect of electrochemical synthesis of organic carbonates is presented as an approach to use carbon dioxide and green electricity to arrive at such compounds. We explore the strengths and limitations of the different methods by looking into the electrode and electrolyte composition effects and operating conditions with a focus on the synthesis of dimethylcarbonate from methanol and either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. The proposed mechanisms are discussed in an effort to understand the underlying steps and their challenges. This review concludes with a perspective on the broader developments needed to turn the basic chemistry into a practical application.