Sulfite-Assisted Acetate Conversion from CO Electroreduction

ChemSusChem. 2024 May 20:e202400683. doi: 10.1002/cssc.202400683. Online ahead of print.


The efficient acetate conversion from CO electroreduction is challenging due to the poor selectivity at high reaction rate, which requires the competition with H2 and other C2+ (i. e., ethylene, ethanol, n-propanol) reduction products. Electrolyte engineering is one of the efficient strategies to regulate the reaction microenvironment. In this work, the adding of sulfite (SO3 2-) with high nucleophilicity in KOH electrolytes was demonstrated to enable improving the CO-to-acetate conversion via generating a S-O chemical bond between SO3 2- and oxygenated *C2 intermediates (i. e., *CO-CO, *CO-COH) compared with that in pure KOH system on both synthesized Cu(200)- and normal commercial Cu(111)-facets-exposed metallic Cu catalysts. As a result, the prepared Cu(200)-facets-exposed metallic Cu catalyst with surface ions modification showed an superior Faradaic efficiency of 63.6 % at -0.6 A ⋅ cm-2, and extraordinary absolute value of peak partial current density as high as 1.52 A ⋅ cm-2 with adding SO3 2- in KOH electrolytes, compared to the best reported values in both CO and CO2 electroreduction. Our work suggests an attractive strategy to introduce the oxyanion with high nucleophilicity in electrolytes to regulate the microenvironment for industrial-current-density electrosynthesis of acetate from CO electroreduction.

Keywords: CO reduction; acetate; electrolyte engineering; nucleophilicity; sulfite.