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Nanostructured transition metal dichalcogenide electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction in ionic liquid

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Science  29 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6298, pp. 467-470
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4767

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Small and salty CO2 reduction scheme

Most artificial photosynthesis approaches focus on making hydrogen. Modifying CO2, as plants and microbes do, is more chemically complex. Asadi et al. report that fashioning WSe2 and related electrochemical catalysts into nanometer-scale flakes greatly improves their activity for the reduction of CO2 to CO. An ionic liquid reaction medium further enhances efficiency. An artificial leaf with WSe2 reduced CO2 on one side while a cobalt catalyst oxidized water on the other side.

Science, this issue p. 467

Abstract

Conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into fuels is an attractive solution to many energy and environmental challenges. However, the chemical inertness of CO2 renders many electrochemical and photochemical conversion processes inefficient. We report a transition metal dichalcogenide nanoarchitecture for catalytic electrochemical CO2 conversion to carbon monoxide (CO) in an ionic liquid. We found that tungsten diselenide nanoflakes show a current density of 18.95 milliamperes per square centimeter, CO faradaic efficiency of 24%, and CO formation turnover frequency of 0.28 per second at a low overpotential of 54 millivolts. We also applied this catalyst in a light-harvesting artificial leaf platform that concurrently oxidized water in the absence of any external potential.

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