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Research Article

Surface promotion of copper nanoparticles with alumina clusters derived from layered double hydroxide accelerates CO2 reduction to ethylene in membrane electrode assemblies

Jie Zhang1,2,§Xinnan Mao1,2,§Binbin Pan1,2,§Jie Xu1,2Xue Ding1,2Na Han1,2Lu Wang1,2( )Yuhang Wang1,2( )Yanguang Li1,2,3( )
Institute of Functional Nano and Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China
Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Advanced Negative Carbon Technologies, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China
Macao Institute of Materials Science and Engineering (MIMSE), MUST-SUDA Joint Research Center for Advanced Functional Materials, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao 999078, China

§ Jie Zhang, Xinnan Mao, and Binbin Pan contributed equally to this work.

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Graphical Abstract

AlOx-promoted Cu nanoparticles are derived from Cu-Al layered double hydroxide nanosheets after alkali etching and cathodic conversion. It can catalyze CO2 to ethylene and multicarbon products with great selectivity and stability in both an H-cell and a zero-gap membrane electrode assembly (MEA) electrolyzer. Such a surface promotion effect originates from the stabilization of key reaction intermediates by the alumina cluster.

Abstract

Electrochemical CO2 reduction has the vast potential to neutralize CO2 emission and valorizes this greenhouse gas into chemicals and fuels under mild conditions. Its commercial realization hinges on catalyst innovation as well as device engineering for enabling reactions at industrially relevant conditions. Copper has been widely examined for the selective production of multicarbon chemicals particularly ethylene, while there is still a substantial gap between the expected and the attainable. In this work, we report that the surface promotion of copper with alumina clusters is a viable strategy to enhance its electrocatalytic performance. AlOx-promoted Cu catalyst is derived from Cu-Al layered double hydroxide nanosheets after alkali etching and cathodic conversion. It can catalyze CO2 to ethylene and multicarbon products with great selectivity and stability far superior to pristine copper in both an H-cell and a zero-gap membrane electrode assembly (MEA) electrolyzer. The surface promotion effect is understood via computational simulations showing that alumina clusters can stabilize key reaction intermediates (*COOH and *OCCOH) along the reaction pathway.

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Nano Research
Pages 4685-4690
Cite this article:
Zhang J, Mao X, Pan B, et al. Surface promotion of copper nanoparticles with alumina clusters derived from layered double hydroxide accelerates CO2 reduction to ethylene in membrane electrode assemblies. Nano Research, 2023, 16(4): 4685-4690. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-022-5128-2
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Received: 23 August 2022
Revised: 26 September 2022
Accepted: 30 September 2022
Published: 04 November 2022
© Tsinghua University Press 2022
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