Oxide-derived copper (OD-Cu) electrodes exhibit unprecedented CO reduction performance towards liquid fuels, producing ethanol and acetate with >50 % Faradaic efficiency at −0.3 V (vs. RHE). By using static headspace-gas chromatography for liquid phase analysis, we identify acetaldehyde as a minor product and key intermediate in the electroreduction of CO to ethanol on OD-Cu electrodes. Acetaldehyde is produced with a Faradaic efficiency of ≈5 % at −0.33 V (vs. RHE). We show that acetaldehyde forms at low steady-state concentrations, and that free acetaldehyde is difficult to detect in alkaline solutions using NMR spectroscopy, requiring alternative methods for detection and quantification. Our results represent an important step towards understanding the CO reduction mechanism on OD-Cu electrodes.
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
- Analytical chemistry
- Energy conversion
- Materials science