Electrochemical upgrade of CO2 from amine capture solution

Geonhui Lee, Yuguang C. Li, Ji Yong Kim, Tao Peng, Dae Hyun Nam, Armin Sedighian Rasouli, Fengwang Li, Mingchuan Luo, Alexander H. Ip, Young Chang Joo, Edward H. Sargent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


CO2 capture technologies based on chemisorption present the potential to lower net emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere. The electrochemical upgrade of captured CO2 to value-added products would be particularly convenient. Here we find that this goal is curtailed when the adduct of the capture molecule with CO2 fails to place the CO2 sufficiently close to the site of the heterogeneous reaction. We investigate tailoring the electrochemical double layer to achieve the valorization of chemisorbed CO2 in an aqueous monoethanolamine electrolyte. We reveal, using electrochemical studies and in situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, that a smaller double layer distance correlates with improved activity for CO2 to CO from amine solutions. With the aid of an alkali cation and accelerated mass transport by system design—temperature and concentration—we demonstrate amine–CO2 conversion to CO with 72% Faradaic efficiency at 50 mA cm–2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalNature Energy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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