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Solvothermally-Prepared Cu 2 O Electrocatalysts for CO 2 Reduction with Tunable Selectivity by the Introduction of p-Block Elements

Gastón O Larrazábal, Antonio J Martín, Frank Krumeich, Roland Hauert, Javier Pérez-Ramírez
ChemSusChem 2017 March 22, 10 (6): 1255-1265
27911498
The electroreduction of CO2 to fuels and chemicals is an attractive strategy for the valorization of CO2 emissions. In this study, a Cu2 O electrocatalyst prepared by a simple and potentially scalable solvothermal route effectively targeted CO evolution at low-to-moderate overpotentials [with a current efficiency for CO (CECO ) of ca. 60 % after 12 h at -0.6 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode, RHE], and its selectivity was tuned by the introduction of p-block elements (In, Sn, Ga, Al) into the catalyst. SEM, HRTEM, and voltammetric analyses revealed that the Cu2 O catalyst undergoes extensive surface restructuring (favorable for CO evolution) under the reaction conditions. The modification of Cu2 O with Sn and In further enhanced the current efficiency (CE) for CO (ca. 75 % after 12 h at -0.6 V). In contrast, the introduction of Al altered the selectivity profile of the catalyst significantly, decreasing the selectivity toward CO but promoting the reduction of CO2 to ethylene (CE≈7 %), n-propanol, and ethanol (CE≈2 % each) at -0.8 V vs. RHE. This result is related to a decreased reducibility of Al-doped Cu2 O that might preserve Cu+ species (favorable for C2 H4 production) under the reaction conditions, which is supported by XRD, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and H2 temperature-programmed reduction observations.

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