Highly selective and active CO 2 reduction electrocatalysts based on cobalt phthalocyanine/carbon nanotube hybrid structures

Nat Commun. 2017 Mar 8;8:14675. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14675.


Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide with renewable energy is a sustainable way of producing carbon-neutral fuels. However, developing active, selective and stable electrocatalysts is challenging and entails material structure design and tailoring across a range of length scales. Here we report a cobalt-phthalocyanine-based high-performance carbon dioxide reduction electrocatalyst material developed with a combined nanoscale and molecular approach. On the nanoscale, cobalt phthalocyanine (CoPc) molecules are uniformly anchored on carbon nanotubes to afford substantially increased current density, improved selectivity for carbon monoxide, and enhanced durability. On the molecular level, the catalytic performance is further enhanced by introducing cyano groups to the CoPc molecule. The resulting hybrid catalyst exhibits >95% Faradaic efficiency for carbon monoxide production in a wide potential range and extraordinary catalytic activity with a current density of 15.0 mA cm-2 and a turnover frequency of 4.1 s-1 at the overpotential of 0.52 V in a near-neutral aqueous solution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't