Catalysis science & technology | VOL. 12

Tracking heterogeneous structural motifs and the redox behaviour of copper-zinc nanocatalysts for the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction using operando time resolved spectroscopy and machine learning.

Publication Date May 10, 2022


Copper-based catalysts are established catalytic systems for the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR), where the greenhouse gas CO2 is converted into valuable industrial chemicals, such as energy-dense C2+ products, using energy from renewable sources. However, better control over the catalyst selectivity, especially at industrially relevant high current density conditions, is needed to expedite the economic viability of the CO2RR. For this purpose, bimetallic materials, where copper is combined with a secondary metal, comprise a promising and a highly tunable catalyst for the CO2RR. Nevertheless, the synergy between copper and the selected secondary metal species, the evolution of the bimetallic structural motifs under working conditions and the effect of the secondary metal on the kinetics of the Cu redox behavior require careful investigation. Here, we employ operando quick X-ray absorption fine structure (QXAFS) spectroscopy coupled with machine-learning based data analysis and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to investigate the time-dependent chemical and structural changes in catalysts derived from shape-selected ZnO/Cu2O nanocubes under CO2RR conditions at current densities up to -500 mA cm-2. We furthermore relate the catalyst transformations observed under working conditions to the catalytic activity and selectivity and correlate potential-dependent surface and subsurface processes. We report that the addition of Zn to a Cu-based catalyst has a crucial impact on the kinetics of subsurface proces...


CO2 Reduction Reaction Quick X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Secondary Metal Greenhouse Gas CO2 Low Zn Content Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Bimetallic Materials Presence Of Zn Formation Of CO Subsurface Processes

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