Boosting Formate Production in Electrocatalytic CO 2 Reduction over Wide Potential Window on Pd Surfaces

Bei Jiang, Xia-Guang Zhang, Kun Jiang, De-Yin Wu, Wen-Bin Cai
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 February 28, 140 (8): 2880-2889
Facile interconversion between CO2 and formate/formic acid (FA) is of broad interest in energy storage and conversion and neutral carbon emission. Historically, electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction to formate on Pd surfaces was limited to a narrow potential range positive of -0.25 V (vs RHE). Herein, a boron-doped Pd catalyst (Pd-B/C), with a high CO tolerance to facilitate dehydrogenation of FA/formate to CO2 , is initially explored for electrochemical CO2 reduction over the potential range of -0.2 V to -1.0 V (vs RHE), with reference to Pd/C. The experimental results demonstrate that the faradaic efficiency for formate (ηHCOO- ) reaches ca. 70% over 2 h of electrolysis in CO2 -saturated 0.1 M KHCO3 at -0.5 V (vs RHE) on Pd-B/C, that is ca. 12 times as high as that on homemade or commercial Pd/C, leading to a formate concentration of ca. 234 mM mg-1 Pd, or ca. 18 times as high as that on Pd/C, without optimization of the catalyst layer and the electrolyte. Furthermore, the competitive selectivity ηHCOO- / ηCO on Pd-B/C is always significantly higher than that on Pd/C despite a decreases of ηHCOO- and an increases of the CO faradaic efficiency (ηCO ) at potentials negative of -0.5 V. The density functional theory (DFT) calculations on energetic aspects of CO2 reduction reaction on modeled Pd(111) surfaces with and without H-adsorbate reveal that the B-doping in the Pd subsurface favors the formation of the adsorbed HCOO*, an intermediate for the FA pathway, more than that of *COOH, an intermediate for the CO pathway. The present study confers Pd-B/C a unique dual functional catalyst for the HCOOH ↔ CO2 interconversion.

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