New Electrocatalyst Produces Liquid Fuels From Carbon Dioxide

Electrocatalyst converts CO2 into multicarbon merchandise.

A brand new electrocatalyst known as [email protected] converts carbon dioxide (CO2 ) into liquid fuels. As reported by a group of Chinese researchers within the journal Angewandte Chemie, energetic copper centered on an amorphous copper/titanium alloy produces ethanol, acetone, and n-butanol with excessive effectivity.

Most of our international power calls for are nonetheless being met by burning fossil fuels, which contributes to the greenhouse impact by way of the discharge of CO2. To scale back international warming, we should search for alternatives to make use of CO2 as a uncooked materials for fundamental chemical compounds. Through electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 utilizing renewable power, a climate-neutral, synthetic carbon cycle may very well be established. Excess power produced by photovoltaics and wind power may very well be saved by way of the electrocatalytic manufacturing of fuels from CO2. These might then be burned as wanted. Conversion into liquid fuels could be advantageous as a result of they’ve excessive power density and are protected to retailer and transport. However, the electrocatalytic formation of merchandise with two or extra carbon atoms (C2+) may be very difficult.

A group from Foshan University (Foshan, Guangdong), the University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei, Anhui), and Xi’an Shiyou University (Xi’an, Shaanxi), led by Fei Hu, Tingting Kong, Jun Jiang, and Yujie Xiong has now developed a novel electrocatalyst that effectively converts CO2 to liquid fuels with a number of carbon atoms (C2–4). The main merchandise are ethanol, acetone, and n-butanol.

To make the electrocatalyst, skinny ribbons of a copper/titanium alloy are etched with hydrofluoric acid to take away the titanium from the floor. This leads to a fabric named [email protected], with a porous copper floor on an amorphous CuTi alloy. It has catalytically energetic copper facilities with remarkably excessive exercise, selectivity, and stability for the discount of CO2 to C2+ merchandise (whole faradaic effectivity of about 49 % at 0.8 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode for C2–4, and it’s secure for a minimum of three months). In distinction, pure copper foil produces C1 merchandise however hardly any C2+ merchandise.

The response entails a multistep electron-transfer course of by way of varied intermediates. In the brand new electrocatalyst, the inactive titanium atoms under the floor really play an vital function; they improve the electron density of the Cu atoms on the floor. This stabilizes the adsorption of *CO, the important thing intermediate within the formation of multicarbon merchandise, permits for prime protection of the floor with *CO, and lowers the power barrier for di- and trimerization of the *CO as new carbon–carbon bonds are shaped.

Reference: “Ultrastable Cu Catalyst for CO2 Electroreduction to Multicarbon Liquid Fuels by Tuning C–C Coupling with CuTi Subsurface” by Prof. Fei Hu, Dr. Li Yang, Yawen Jiang, Dr. Chongxiong Duan, Dr. Xiaonong Wang, Longjiao Zeng, Xuefeng Lv, Delong Duan, Qi Liu, Prof. Tingting Kong, Prof. Jun Jiang, Ran Long and Prof. Yujie Xiong, 1 October 2021, Angewandte Chemie.
DOI: 10.1002/anie.202110303

Dr. Yujie Xiong is the Chair Professor of Chemistry on the University of Science and Technology of China. His essential specialty is the unreal carbon cycle.

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