Pairing up copper and tin to reduce CO2

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Science  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6345, pp. 1347-1348
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6345.1347-g

Copper could be a cost-effective catalyst for solar-powered reduction of CO2 to fuels and chemicals, but it tends to produce a variety of different products. Building on recent observations, Schreier et al. now show that coating copper oxide nanowires with tin oxide by atomic layer deposition confers high selectivity for CO production in CO2 electrolysis. Moreover, these nanowires proved effective in catalyzing the anodic oxidation of water to oxygen as well. The authors took advantage of a bipolar membrane to carry out the cathodic and anodic reactions at neutral and basic pH, respectively, reaching a solar-to-CO2 conversion efficiency of 13.4% with a three-junction solar cell to power the process.

Nat. Energy 2, 17087 (2017).

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