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Surface and sub-surface modified nano-electrocatalysts for the conversion of CO2 to value-added products: A structure-selectivity-mechanism-stability catalog

Project description

Copper a more viable electrocatalyst for energy technologies

Major challenges being faced in this age of Anthropocene include global climate change and associated high energy demand. To address this, the contemporary interest is towards generating alternative fuels as well as other value-added chemicals mainly from CO2 (waste to wealth strategy). Electrochemical technologies offer a promising solution. Copper stands as the state-of-the-art benchmark electrocatalyst to convert CO2 to chemical feedstock. However, copper is not particularly selective and exhibits long-term instability. The key issues to be addressed by the EU-funded CO2-CAT-ALOG project are the effect of the synthesis of atomically precise copper nanocrystals with surface and sub-surface modification with dopants, shape and size on activity, selectivity and stability. Using a combination of synthesis, advanced electrochemical characterisation, density functional theory (DFT) and microkinetic modelling, new insights into the activity-selectivity-mechanism-stability will be gained.


In the age of Anthropocene, major challenges faced by mankind today are the global climate change and the associated huge energy crisis due to ever increased population demand. So, the contemporary interests are towards energy storage and conversion reactions and in generating the alternative fuels (from CO2, waste to wealth strategy). Copper is the known best electrocatalyst for the reduction of CO2 (green-house gas). However, Cu is not particularly selective-stable electrocatalyst and is vary prone to deactivation; selectivity and stability are two important strictures directly associated with the geometric and electronic structure of the catalyst and hence on the CO2 conversion efficacy. Herein, we propose few strategies with CO2-CAT-ALOG such as doping with IIIA group elements, to effectively have active-selective-stable electrocatalyst to reduce CO2 to >C1 desired products and explain the mechanism of actions by carrying out experiments and theory in tandem. Appropriately, this proposal aims at the (i) synthesis of atomically precise, zero-dimensional (0D) modified Cu nanoparticles (mCNPs) supported over 2D materials, (ii) exploring the parameters governing the CO2 activation and stability of the reaction intermediates with the aid of DFT calculations (modelling and simulation at nano-scale) and micro-kinetic modelling (iii) detailed study on selectivity and stability of modified surface and sub-surface of CNPs with IIIA-group with the aid of high-end multi-analytical methodologies. This CO2-CAT-ALOG approach will not only bridge the gap between theory and experiments at the nano-scale level to a possible extent, but also facilitates intra-European knowledge transfer along with direct societal impacts. In addition, proposed work will not only provide solid guidelines to smart-design and screen the robust active-selective-stable electrocatalysts but also addresses issues to overcome impediments in the field of electrocatalysis of CO2 in near future.

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Net EU contribution
€ 150 040,32
1000 Ljubljana

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Slovenija Zahodna Slovenija Osrednjeslovenska
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 150 040,32