Efficient Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 to Formic Acid

Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Expo Center, 1st Floor, Center and Right Foyers (Moon Palace Resort)
N. C. D. Nath (School of Energy Engineering, Kyungpook National University), H. Park, S. Y. Choi (School of Energy Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 702701, Korea), and J. J. Lee (Konkuk University)
Fossil fuels comprise more than 80% of global energy sources because of their availability, versatility, and high energy density. However, their continued use at this level is accompanied by an unchecked accumulation of atmospheric CO2. An attractive alternative is to develop a scalable synthesis of carbon-containing products (formic acid, methane, methanol, and ethanol) using renewable energy, H2O, and CO2 at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. An efficient catalyst must mediate multiple electron and proton transfers to CO2 for the reduction of CO2 in the presence of H2O, and selectively produce one of many possible products. Researchers over the past three decades have identified several materials (e.g., semiconducting metal oxides) that are capable of reducing CO2 electrochemically in aqueous solutions, but none are efficient and stable enough for practical use due to the large overpotential (>0.7 V) required for CO2 reduction to outcompete H2O reduction. The energy level of the conduction band of semiconducting materials such as Cu2O or CuO cannot contain the sufficient reduction potential of CO2 to formic acid (HCOOH). In this regard, we are going to present our recent progress on the efficient CO2 reduction to formic acid by using bipolar WO3/Cu-CuO nanowires hybrid electrodes with low overpotential.