News Release

Review of CO2 electroreduction in acid

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy Sciences

Figure Abstract


Suppressing H+ mass transport and promoting the kinetics of CO2 reduction electrode reaction are the two basic strategies for electrochemical CO2 reduction in acid, aiming at improving carbon efficiency, energy efficiency and sustainability of CO2 reduction techniques.

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Credit: Chinese Journal of Catalysis

CO2 electroreduction is a promising technique to convert renewable electricity and CO2 to high-value fuels and chemicals. Selectivity, energy efficiency, carbon efficiency and sustainability are the criteria for CO2 electroreduction techniques suitable for industrial application. With alkaline and neutral electrolytes, carbonate formation from CO2 leads to low carbon efficiency. High energy consumption to regenerate alkaline electrolyte and high resistance of neutral electrolyte cause low energy efficiency.

Hence, CO2 reduction with acidic electrolyte becomes a hot topic due to its potential to increase carbon efficiency and energy efficiency. Improving the selectivity towards CO2 reduction is challenging in acidic condition. Diverse approaches were proposed to suppress H+ reduction and promote CO2 reduction. However, fundamental issues about cation effect and local pH effect on CO2 reduction in acidic condition are still under debate. Moreover, bicarbonate precipitation in gas diffusion electrode limits the sustainability with acidic electrolyte.

Recently, a research team led by Prof. Jun Gu from Southern University of Science and Technology, China, summarized the reported strategies to improve the selectivity towards CO2 reduction in acidic condition from mass transport and electrode reactions. Different approaches, including adding alkali cations, surface decoration, nanostructuring, and electronic structure modulation, are designed based on these two aspects. The methods for the simulation of CO2RR in acidic condition are also summarized. Finally, the opportunities to further improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of CO2RR techniques in acidic conditions are proposed. This review was published in Chinese Journal of Catalysis (


About the Journal

Chinese Journal of Catalysis is co-sponsored by Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Chemical Society, and it is currently published by Elsevier group. This monthly journal publishes in English timely contributions of original and rigorously reviewed manuscripts covering all areas of catalysis. The journal publishes Reviews, Accounts, Communications, Articles, Highlights, Perspectives, and Viewpoints of highly scientific values that help understanding and defining of new concepts in both fundamental issues and practical applications of catalysis. Chinese Journal of Catalysis ranks at the top one journal in Applied Chemistry with a current SCI impact factor of 16.5. The Editors-in-Chief are Profs. Can Li and Tao Zhang.

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