Electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 into a long-chain hydrocarbon represents an important research direction in adding value to CO2-based chemicals and realizing its practical application. Long-chain hydrocarbons may change the current fossil fuel-based industry in that those chemicals have a similar energy density as gasoline, high compatibility with the current infrastructure, and low hydroscopicity for pipeline distribution. However, most of the electrocatalysts produce C1, C2, and C3 chemicals, and methods for producing long-chain hydrocarbons are not available thus far. Interestingly, nature utilizes many enzymes to generate long-chain hydrocarbons using C2 building blocks and suggests key mechanisms, inspiring new perspective in the design of electrocatalysts. In this Perspective, we present case studies to demonstrate how CO2 and its reductive derivatives interact with the electrode surface during C-C bond formation and introduce how these issues are addressed in biological systems. We end this Perspective by outlining possible strategies to translate the natural mechanism into a heterogeneous electrode.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry