Electrocatalytic activity of Cu and Cu oxide electrodes in electroreduction of CO2

Carbon dioxide reduction is a reaction of major interest, due to the possibility of reducing the global emission of CO2. Electroreduction is one of the possibilities to carry out this reaction, however, direct transfer of electrons to the CO2 molecules requires a high overpotential. There have been many attempts to develop suitable catalyst for this process. At present Cu is the best known metal catalyst for the electrochemical reduction of CO2 and it has the capability to produce many different products. However, the elctrocatalyst stability and selectivity are not sufficient for a practical application. It is expected that these parameters can be improved by modifying the surface or/and by production of nanostructured material. The nanostructures can provide the different surface morphology, thus providing more active sites for CO2 electroreduction and in increase of product selectivity control. In addition, it is important to understand the fundamental aspects of CO2 electroreduction on copper, what is not achieved up to date.

The infrastructure which is in disposition in the Department of Electrochemical Materials Sciences enables to achieve all objectives of the planned work. This infrastructure includes: electrochemical measurement system together with the equipment for analysis of gaseous reaction products, Quartz crystal microbalance and other electrochemical techniques. Other equipment, which will be used belong to the Open Access centers of FTMC (Raman spectrometer, XPS, XRD, SEM, TEM, etc.). The supervisor have conducted similar studies related to formaldehyde electrooxidation on the polycrystaline and monocrystal surfaces of Cu, with intention to establish the structural factor influence on the kinetics of electrocatalytic process; he has developed as well the method of real (active) surface area determination of Cu electrodes, which will be applied in the upcoming work.
For more information, please contact the theme supervisor R. Ramanauskas.