American Chemical Society
nn7b01257_si_001.pdf (3.14 MB)

Plasma-Activated Copper Nanocube Catalysts for Efficient Carbon Dioxide Electroreduction to Hydrocarbons and Alcohols

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-04-25, 00:00 authored by Dunfeng Gao, Ioannis Zegkinoglou, Nuria J. Divins, Fabian Scholten, Ilya Sinev, Philipp Grosse, Beatriz Roldan Cuenya
Carbon dioxide electroreduction to chemicals and fuels powered by renewable energy sources is considered a promising path to address climate change and energy storage needs. We have developed highly active and selective copper (Cu) nanocube catalysts with tunable Cu(100) facet and oxygen/chlorine ion content by low-pressure plasma pretreatments. These catalysts display lower overpotentials and higher ethylene, ethanol, and n-propanol selectivity, resulting in a maximum Faradaic efficiency (FE) of ∼73% for C2 and C3 products. Scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy in combination with quasi-in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed that the catalyst shape, ion content, and ion stability under electrochemical reaction conditions can be systematically tuned through plasma treatments. Our results demonstrate that the presence of oxygen species in surface and subsurface regions of the nanocube catalysts is key for achieving high activity and hydrocarbon/alcohol selectivity, even more important than the presence of Cu(100) facets.