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Catalyst synthesis under CO2 electroreduction favours faceting and promotes renewable fuels electrosynthesis

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Abstract

The electrosynthesis of C2+ hydrocarbons from CO2 has attracted recent attention in light of the relatively high market price per unit energy input. Today’s low selectivities and stabilities towards C2+ products at high current densities curtail system energy efficiency, which limits their prospects for economic competitiveness. Here we present a materials processing strategy based on in situ electrodeposition of copper under CO2 reduction conditions that preferentially expose and maintain Cu(100) facets, which favour the formation of C2+ products. We observe capping of facets during catalyst synthesis and achieve control over faceting to obtain a 70% increase in the ratio of Cu(100) facets to total facet area. We report a 90% Faradaic efficiency for C2+ products at a partial current density of 520 mA cm−2 and a full-cell C2+ power conversion efficiency of 37%. We achieve nearly constant C2H4 selectivity over 65 h operation at 350 mA cm−2 in a membrane electrode assembly electrolyser.

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Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Dinh, C. T., Li, J., Ozden, A., Golam Kibria, M., … Sargent, E. H. (2020). Catalyst synthesis under CO2 electroreduction favours faceting and promotes renewable fuels electrosynthesis. Nature Catalysis, 3(2), 98–106. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-019-0397-1

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