Electrochemically Generated Copper Carbonyl for Selective Dimethyl Carbonate Synthesis

Bethan J.V. Davies, Manuel Šarić, Marta C. Figueiredo, Niels C. Schjødt, Søren Dahl, Poul Georg Moses, María Escudero-Escribano*, Matthias Arenz, Jan Rossmeisl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Development of electrochemical synthesis routes for high-value chemicals could pave the way for a sustainable chemical industry based on electricity. Herein, the electrochemical synthesis of the industrially relevant and environmentally benign reagent, dimethyl carbonate (DMC), is investigated. By utilizing a combination of electrochemical techniques, in situ infrared spectroscopy, and headspace-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry we show production and spectroelectrochemical evidence for the synthesis of DMC via an electrochemically generated copper carbonyl species. The formation of the copper carbonyl has close to 100% current efficiency, in the applied potential range of 0.1-0.4 V vs SCE. Subsequent formation of DMC occurs with a slow reaction time on the order of 30-40 days. Relative to potential coproducts, the reaction is highly selective for DMC. Optimization of the reaction may lead to a viable method of DMC production.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)859-866
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Copper
  • Dimethyl carbonate
  • Electrosynthesis
  • Methanol
  • Spectroelectrochemistry

Cite this

Davies, B. J. V., Šarić, M., Figueiredo, M. C., Schjødt, N. C., Dahl, S., Moses, P. G., Escudero-Escribano, M., Arenz, M., & Rossmeisl, J. (2019). Electrochemically Generated Copper Carbonyl for Selective Dimethyl Carbonate Synthesis. ACS Catalysis, 9(2), 859-866. https://doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.8b03682