Controllable Hydrocarbon Formation from the Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 over Cu Nanowire Arrays

Ming Ma, Kristina Djanashvili, Wilson A Smith
Angewandte Chemie 2016 June 1, 55 (23): 6680-4
In this work, the effect of Cu nanowire morphology on the selective electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 is presented. Cu nanowire arrays were prepared through a two-step synthesis of Cu(OH)2 and CuO nanowire arrays on Cu foil substrates and a subsequent electrochemical reduction of the CuO nanowire arrays to Cu nanowire arrays. By this simple synthesis method, Cu nanowire array electrodes with different length and density were able to be controllably synthesized. We show that the selectivity for hydrocarbons (ethylene, n-propanol, ethane, and ethanol) on Cu nanowire array electrodes at a fixed potential can be tuned by systematically altering the Cu nanowire length and density. The nanowire morphology effect is linked to the increased local pH in the Cu nanowire arrays and a reaction scheme detailing the local pH-induced formation of C2  products is also presented by a preferred CO dimerization pathway.

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