Morphology-Directed Selective Production of Ethylene or Ethane from CO 2 on a Cu Mesopore Electrode

Ki Dong Yang, Woo Ri Ko, Jun Ho Lee, Sung Jae Kim, Hyomin Lee, Min Hyung Lee, Ki Tae Nam
Angewandte Chemie 2017 January 16, 56 (3): 796-800
The electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to value-added hydrocarbons is receiving significant attention as a promising way to close the broken carbon-cycle. While most metal catalysts produce C1 species, such as carbon monoxide and formate, the production of various hydrocarbons and alcohols comprising more than two carbons has been achieved using copper (Cu)-based catalysts only. Methods for producing specific C2 reduction outcomes with high selectivity, however, are not available thus far. Herein, the morphological effect of a Cu mesopore electrode on the selective production of C2 products, ethylene or ethane, is presented. Cu mesopore electrodes with precisely controlled pore widths and depths were prepared by using a thermal deposition process on anodized aluminum oxide. With this simple synthesis method, we demonstrated that C2 chemical selectivity can be tuned by systematically altering the morphology. Supported by computational simulations, we proved that nanomorphology can change the local pH and, additionally, retention time of key intermediates by confining the chemicals inside the pores.

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