Isolated single-atom Pt sites for highly selective electrocatalytic hydrogenation of formaldehyde to methanol†
The direct electrochemical conversion of noxious formaldehyde into value-added chemicals is a quite promising technique for resolving the increasingly serious environmental issue arising from industrial formaldehyde-containing wastewater. However, thus far, it has not been examined, to the best of our knowledge. This study reports the electrocatalytic hydrogenation of formaldehyde to methanol in a neutral aqueous medium under ambient conditions over a Pt single-atom catalyst, and this catalyst exhibits a favorable methanol yield rate and a high faradaic efficiency of 30.7 mg h−1 mgcat.−1 and 95.8% at −0.8 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode in 0.1 M Na2SO4. Also, it exhibits excellent durability. Atomic-scale structural characterization and theoretical calculations revealed that the above-mentioned efficient performance is related to atomically dispersed Pt–O sites, which could lower the free-energy change for the chemisorption of formaldehyde and activate the C–H bond.