Steering post-C-C coupling selectivity enables high efficiency electroreduction of carbon dioxide to multi-carbon alcohols

Tao Tao Zhuang, Zhi Qin Liang, Ali Seifitokaldani, Yi Li, Phil De Luna, Thomas Burdyny, Fanglin Che, Fei Meng, Yimeng Min, Rafael Quintero-Bermudez, Cao Thang Dinh, Yuanjie Pang, Miao Zhong, Bo Zhang, Jun Li, Pei Ning Chen, Xue Li Zheng, Hongyan Liang, Wen Na Ge, Bang Jiao YeDavid Sinton, Shu Hong Yu*, Edward H. Sargent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

560 Scopus citations

Abstract

Engineering copper-based catalysts that favour high-value alcohols is desired in view of the energy density, ready transport and established use of these liquid fuels. In the design of catalysts, much progress has been made to target the C-C coupling step; whereas comparatively little effort has been expended to target post-C-C coupling reaction intermediates. Here we report a class of core-shell vacancy engineering catalysts that utilize sulfur atoms in the nanoparticle core and copper vacancies in the shell to achieve efficient electrochemical CO2 reduction to propanol and ethanol. These catalysts shift selectivity away from the competing ethylene reaction and towards liquid alcohols. We increase the alcohol-to-ethylene ratio more than sixfold compared with bare-copper nanoparticles, highlighting an alternative approach to electroproduce alcohols instead of alkenes. We achieve a C2+ alcohol production rate of 126 ± 5 mA cm-2 with a selectivity of 32 ± 1% Faradaic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-428
Number of pages8
JournalNature Catalysis
Volume1
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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