Hydroxide Is Not a Promoter of C2+ Product Formation in the Electrochemical Reduction of CO on Copper

Jing Li, Donghuan Wu, Arnav S. Malkani, Xiaoxia Chang, Mu Jeng Cheng, Bingjun Xu, Qi Lu

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Highly alkaline electrolytes have been shown to improve the formation rate of C2+ products in the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) on copper surfaces, with the assumption that higher OH concentrations promote the C−C coupling chemistry. Herein, by systematically varying the concentration of Na+ and OH at the same absolute electrode potential, we demonstrate that higher concentrations of cations (Na+), rather than OH, exert the main promotional effect on the production of C2+ products. The impact of the nature and the concentration of cations on the electrochemical reduction of CO is supported by experiments in which a fraction or all of Na+ is chelated by a crown ether. Chelation of Na+ leads to drastic decrease in the formation rate of C2+ products. The promotional effect of OH determined at the same potential on the reversible hydrogen electrode scale is likely caused by larger overpotentials at higher electrolyte pH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4464-4469
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 9

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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