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As a model reaction for the electrooxidation of many small organic molecules, formic acid electrooxidation (FAEO) has aroused wide concern. The promises of direct formic acid fuel cells (DFAFC) in application further strengthen people’s attention to the related research. However, despite decades of study, the FAEO mechanism is still under debate due to the multi-electron and multi-pathway nature of the catalytic process. In this review, the progresses towards understanding the FAEO mechanism along with the developed methodology (electrochemistry, in-situ spectroscopy, and theoretical calculation and simulation) are summarized. We especially focused on the construction of anti-poisoning catalysts system based on understanding of the catalytic mechanism, with anti-poisoning catalyst design being systemically summarized. Finally, we provide a brief summarization for current challenges and future prospects towards FAEO study.

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Published: 20 April 2022

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© Tsinghua University Press 2022

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21905267,), the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFB1502400), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDA21090400), the Department of Science and Technology of Shandong province (No. 2019JZZY010905), and the Jilin Province Science and Technology Development Program (Nos. 20190201300JC, 20170520150JH, and 20200201001JC) for financial support.

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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