Electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CH3OH at copper oxide surfaces

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The direct reduction of CO2 to CH3OH is known to occur at several types of electrocatalysts including oxidized Cu electrodes. In this work, we examine the yield behavior of an electrodeposited cuprous oxide thin film and explore relationships between surface chemistry and reaction behavior relative to airoxidized and anodized Cu electrodes. CH3OH yields (43 mol cm-2 h-1) and Faradaic efficiencies (38%) observed at cuprous oxide electrodes were remarkably higher than airoxidized or anodized Cu electrodes suggesting Cu(I) species may play a critical role in selectivity to CH3OH. Experimental results also show CH3OH yields are dynamic and the copper oxides are reduced to metallic Cu in a simultaneous process. Yield behavior is discussed in comparison with photoelectrochemical and hydrogenation reactions where the improved stability of Cu(I) species may allow continuous CH3OH generation. © 2011 The Electrochemical Society.

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Journal of the Electrochemical Society

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