A Nature publication titled ‘Molecular tuning of CO2-to-ethylene conversion’ reports the CO2RR to ethylene conversion with a Faradaic efficiency of 72 per cent at a partial current density of 230 milliamperes per square centimeter. The study is performed at neutral medium in a liquid-electrolyte Dioxide Materials flow cell with a Sustainion® Anion Exchange Membrane. The operating current and ethylene FE for the device during an extended electrolysis in the aforementioned cell is displayed below:
The molecular tuning strategy includes the functionalization of the surface of electrocatalysts with organic molecules—that stabilizes intermediates for more selective CO2RR to ethylene. Using electrochemical, operando/in situ spectroscopic
and computational studies, they investigate the influence of a library of molecules, derived by electro-dimerization of aryl pyridiniums, adsorbed on copper. One of the findings is that adhered molecules improve the stabilization of an ‘atop-bound’ CO
intermediate (that is, an intermediate bound to a single copper atom), thereby favoring further reduction to ethylene.
This strategy, implemented with N-aryl-substituted tetrahydro-bipyridine films and a related oligomeric film on a Cu catalyst, achieved CO2-to-ethylene conversion with an ethylene FE of 72% and a full-cell energy efficiency of 20%. In light of this performance, in combination with the long-term operating stability, this is a promising strategy for the use of renewable electricity to convert CO2 into value-added chemicals, thus storing the renewable energy (solar, wind) in the form of chemical energy.
Also read this Nature research which uses Sustanion® membranes to convert CO2 to 100% Formic Acid.
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