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Nanostructured amalgams with tuneable silver–mercury bonding sites for selective electroreduction of carbon dioxide into formate and carbon monoxide
- Yang, Wanfeng, Chen, Sheng, Ren, Wenhao, Zhao, Yong, Chen, Xianjue, Jia, Chen, Liu, Junnan, Zhao, Chuan
- Journal of materials chemistry A 2019 v.7 no.26 pp. 15907-15912
- alloys, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, catalysts, chemical bonding, commercialization, cost effectiveness, electrochemistry, formates, mercury, nanopores, silver
- Realizing highly efficient and selective electrochemical CO₂ reduction by using cost-effective catalysts is a key to the large-scale commercialization of this technology. In this work, a nanoporous amalgam catalyst with a tuneable amount of Ag–Hg bonding sites has been developed for selective CO₂ electroreduction to formate or CO via a one-step wet-chemistry method. This catalyst is composed of a Ag(Hg) solid solution phase and a Ag–Hg intermetallic compound, exhibiting a loosened nanorod-channel network morphology. The Ag₇₀Hg₃₀ alloy drives efficient formate generation with a high faradaic efficiency of 85% at a moderate overpotential of 790 mV while the Ag₉₁Hg₉ alloy promotes CO₂ reduction to CO with a faradaic efficiency of 58% at a low overpotential of 590 mV. The switchable product selectivity has been correlated with preferable formation of HCOO* or *COOH intermediates at Ag–Hg and Ag–Ag bonding sites. This work highlights amalgams as novel electrocatalysts for CO₂ reduction to valuable products on demand.