Urea-Functionalized Silver Catalyst toward Efficient and Robust COElectrolysis with Relieved Reliance on Alkali Cations

Sahil Garg, Mengran Li*, Tanveer Hussain, Mohamed Nazmi Idros, Yuming Wu, Xiu Song Zhao, Geoff G.X. Wang, Thomas E. Rufford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We report a new strategy to improve the reactivity and durability of a membrane electrode assembly (MEA)-type electrolyzer for CO2 electrolysis to CO by modifying the silver catalyst layer with urea. Our experimental and theoretical results show that mixing urea with the silver catalyst can promote electrochemical CO2 reduction (CO2R), relieve limitations of alkali cation transport from the anolyte, and mitigate salt precipitation in the gas diffusion electrode in long-term stability tests. In a 10 mM KHCO3 anolyte, the urea-modified Ag catalyst achieved CO selectivity 1.3 times better with energy efficiency 2.8-fold better than an untreated Ag catalyst, and operated stably at 100 mA cm-2 with a faradaic efficiency for CO above 85% for 200 h. Our work provides an alternative approach to fabricating catalyst interfaces in MEAs by modifying the catalyst structure and the local reaction environment for critical electrochemical applications such as CO2 electrolysis and fuel cells.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume14
Issue number31
Pages (from-to)35504-35512
ISSN1944-8244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • COutilization
  • Electrocatalyst
  • Membrane electrode assembly
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Urea
  • Vapor-fed electrolyzer

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