Nanotechnology-Based Catalysts for the Electrochemical Synthesis of Low Carbon Fuels

A.J. Rondinone
Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: CO2, ethanol, nano, graphene


Abstract: The arrangement of active sites on a nanostructured catalyst can yield new ways to influence complex reaction mechanisms. This talk with describe a novel textured carbon comprised of 50-80nm carbon nanospikes (CNS) with ~5% nitrogen dopants which is highly active for electrochemical catalysis. When co-doped with ~50nm copper nanoparticles, the CNS electrocatalyst converts CO2 to ethanol with high Faradaic efficiency or yield (63% at -1.2V vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE)) and high selectivity (84%) in aqueous bicarbonate and at ambient temperature and pressure. Electrochemical analysis and density functional theory calculations suggest a mechanism in which active sites on the Cu nanoparticles and the carbon nanospikes work in tandem to control the electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide dimer to alcohol.