Selective and High Current CO2 Electro-Reduction to Multicarbon Products in Near-Neutral KCl Electrolytes.
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Reducing CO2 to value-added multicarbon (C2+) fuels and chemicals using renewable energy is a viable way to circumvent CO2 buildup in the atmosphere and facilitate closing the carbon cycle. To date it remains a challenge to achieve high product selectivity and long-term stability of electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction reaction (CO2RR) especially at practically relevant high current levels >100 mA cm-2. Here, we report a simple electrodeposited Cu electrocatalyst on a hydrophobic porous gas-diffusion layer (GDL) electrode affording stable and selective CO2RR to C2+ products in near-neutral KCl electrolytes. By directing the CO2 stream to fully submerged hydrophobic GDLs in a H-cell, high C2+ partial current densities near 100 mA cm-2 were achieved. In a flow-cell setup, the Cu/GDL cathode in 2 M KCl afforded stable CO2RR superior to that in widely used KOH electrolytes. We found that Cu etching/corrosion associated with trace oxygen played a role in the catalyst instability in alkaline media under cathodic CO2RR conditions, a problem largely suppressed in near-neutral electrolyte. A two-electrode CO2 electrolyzer was constructed with a Cu/GDL cathode in KCl catholyte and an anode comprised of nickel-iron hydroxide on nickel foam (NiFe/NF) in a KOH anolyte separated by Nafion membrane. By periodically adding HCl to the KCl catholyte to compensate the increasing pH and remove accumulated (bi)carbonates, we observed little decay over 30 h in flow-cell CO2RR activity and selectivity at 150 mA cm-2 with a high Faradaic efficiency (FE) of 75% and energy efficiency of 40% for C2+ products.
View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.0c13427
View details for PubMedID 33617245