The electroreduction of C1 feedgas to high-energy-density fuels provides an attractive avenue to the storage of renewable electricity. Much progress has been made to improve selectivity to C1 and C2 products, however, the selectivity to desirable high-energy-density C3 products remains relatively low. We reason that C3 electrosynthesis relies on a higher-order reaction pathway that requires the formation of multiple carbon-carbon (C-C) bonds, and thus pursue a strategy explicitly designed to couple C2 with C1 intermediates. We develop an approach wherein neighboring copper atoms having distinct electronic structures interact with two adsorbates to catalyze an asymmetric reaction. We achieve a record n-propanol Faradaic efficiency (FE) of (33 ± 1)% with a conversion rate of (4.5 ± 0.1) mA cm−2, and a record n-propanol cathodic energy conversion efficiency (EEcathodic half-cell) of 21%. The FE and EEcathodic half-cell represent a 1.3× improvement relative to previously-published CO-to-n-propanol electroreduction reports.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology