Acetaldehyde as an Intermediate in the Electroreduction of Carbon Monoxide to Ethanol on Oxide-Derived Copper

Erlend Bertheussen, Arnau Verdaguer Casadevall, Davide Ravasio, Joseph H. Montoya, Daniel Bøndergaard Trimarco, Claudie Roy, Sebastian Meier, Jürgen Wendland, Jens K. Nørskov, Ifan E. L. Stephens, Ib Chorkendorff

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

646 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1450-1454
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

© 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
  • Catalysis
  • Electrochemistry
  • Energy conversion
  • Materials science


Dive into the research topics of 'Acetaldehyde as an Intermediate in the Electroreduction of Carbon Monoxide to Ethanol on Oxide-Derived Copper'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this