Research Progress

Researchers Design a Novel Copper Gas Penetration Electrode to Efficiently Reduce CO2 to Multicarbon Products
date: 2022-11-08
Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into value-added chemical fuels driven by renewable electrical energy has twofold roles in reducing net CO2 emission and in addressing energy consumption.
Although considerable progress has been made in CO2 electroreduction, the current density of CO2 to multicarbon products remains a challenge for sustained industrial-scale implementation. Therefore, it is crucial to develop efficient electrodes with high C2+ yield at high current density.
Motivated by this challenge, a research team from the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported a hierarchical micro/nanostructured Cu(100)-rich hollow-fiber gas penetration electrode (GPE), breaking through the bottleneck of low CO2 solubility limit and realizing electrochemical reduction of CO2 to multicarbon products under ampere level current density.
The results were published in Energy & Environmental Science on November 2. 
The Cu GPEs composed only of metallic copper for electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction to C2+ product, reducing CO2 to C2+ product with a faradaic efficiency of 62.8% and a current density of 2.3 A cm-2 in 0.5 M KHCO3 solution at -1.94 V, approximating to or even outperforming state-of-the-art Cu-based catalysts.
Electrochemical results show that optimized mass transfer and enhanced three-phase interface reaction synergistically promote CO2 activation and reduction kinetics. Theoretical calculations further suggest that the Cu(100) facet of Cu GPE favors CO adsorption and dimerization, thus enhancing its catalytic activity.
This work represents an encouraging headway in the design and development of new electrode configurations to realize CO2 electroreduction to high-value C2+ chemicals with scalable applications.

Schematic diagram and electrocatalytic performance of efficient CO2 reduction over copper

hollow fiber gas penetration electrode (image by SARI)