JOURNAL ARTICLE

Reduced SnO2 Porous Nanowires with a High Density of Grain Boundaries as Catalysts for Efficient Electrochemical CO2 -into-HCOOH Conversion

Bijandra Kumar, Veerendra Atla, J Patrick Brian, Sudesh Kumari, Tu Quang Nguyen, Mahendra Sunkara, Joshua M Spurgeon
Angewandte Chemie 2017 February 23
28229519
Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into energy-dense liquids, such as formic acid, is desirable as a hydrogen carrier and a chemical feedstock. SnOx is one of the few catalysts that reduce CO2 into formic acid with high selectivity but at high overpotential and low current density. We show that an electrochemically reduced SnO2 porous nanowire catalyst (Sn-pNWs) with a high density of grain boundaries (GBs) exhibits an energy conversion efficiency of CO2 -into-HCOOH higher than analogous catalysts. HCOOH formation begins at lower overpotential (350 mV) and reaches a steady Faradaic efficiency of ca. 80 % at only -0.8 V vs. RHE. A comparison with commercial SnO2 nanoparticles confirms that the improved CO2 reduction performance of Sn-pNWs is due to the density of GBs within the porous structure, which introduce new catalytically active sites. Produced with a scalable plasma synthesis technology, the catalysts have potential for application in the CO2 conversion industry.

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